The Baloch deserve better treatment

Umair Adeeb/Flickr

Balochistan’s seeing a horrible living standard in the 21st century. The Baloch spend their lives in mountains – unaware of worldly luxuries – millions of whom are not censused in rural Balochistan.

The Baloch go missing, and nobody takes notice. When I went to the Balochistan mountains with colleagues, I learned the people in these mountains did not care about anything else but food for survival. When they take their concerns to the government, they get told they’re unregistered. But who’s authorized to register them?

The government adds the unregistered residents of Balochistan to the list of terrorists or illegal migrants from neighboring countries – neglecting their education, health and daily needs. The Baloch keep knocking the doors of the heads of government to give them resident status, but Pakistan’s corruption and ill-governance gets them nowhere.

People resort to making their passports or identity cards illegally to settle down in Pakistan’s urban areas. But what about the Baloch who can’t afford that? They, too, want to live a good life, but because they don’t have the resources to do so, they go unnoticed.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project shined light on Balochistan, but there’s still lack of developmental research in Balochistan. Researchers ignore the Baloch, because the Baloch don’t even own proper clothes to wear.

The Baloch have lived in the mountains for more than a hundred years – hardly having enough water for their livestock, meandering through the day with barely any food to eat. How can they become like the elites who’re worthy of being noticed? Why don’t the researchers pay attention to their backgrounds before deciding they aren’t worthy of attention? If the Baloch had the power to make their lives better, they would have never needed anyone to plea to the higher authorities.

The Baloch have faced enough challenges in their lives. Till when will the government neglect and silence their voices? They need to have the same rights as anyone else living in Pakistan’s big cities.

I request the newly elected chief minister of Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan, to meet with Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss reforms regarding the living standards of the Baloch. Residents of all provinces deserve equal treatment, and the Baloch are no less.