For the past few weeks, the streets of Quetta have been riddled with one protest or another. There seems to be a general feeling of discontent, especially within the youth.
Among these protests is the Balochistan Pharmacists’ Alliance (BPA) and the Engineers Grand Alliance of Balochistan (EGAB), who are both protesting against unemployment and the lack of service structure within their respective fields. Most of those protesting are unemployed recently graduated professionals. Their point of view is that the government has failed to ensure employment for graduating students and a proper service structure as a whole.
Both alliances have put up a set of demands that they claim have been communicated to in a proper manner, and ignored by the Government previously.
Most of these demands are related to employment opportunities in each field, while some are about financial aid the Government can provide to help them as well as service structure regulations.
The Government in turn has expressed that fresh graduates should produce better results in order to ensure procurement of employment. The Chief Minister has emphasized that government jobs are not the only solution. He said that the Government itself is working towards fiscal health in the province as the top priority and may not, at this time, be able to guarantee jobs.
So, who is right and who is wrong? What are the possible solutions?
To answer either of these questions, it is important to understand WHY public concerns escalate into protests. In an ideal world, when the public has a pressing concern, they communicate it to their respective representative and expect that they will address said concern. However, with the distance between the government and public widening globally, many have become extremely distrustful of their governments.
Due to this distrust and widespread frustration, these concerns turn into protests prior to actual communication between the public and government. An example of this are the continued protests of the British climate change group Extinction Rebellion despite arrests by the local Police.
More often than not, protesters seek acknowledgement and then action for their concerns from the government. It’s when these concerns go unaddressed and unacknowledged for too long that protests gradually turn violent. An example is the protests in Hong Kong against the anti-extradition bill that have now turned violent as a reaction to retaliation by the Government.
While protests have produced results one way or another all over the world, they are not the only step we can take to have our voices heard. In an interview, member of opposition Sanaullah Baloch has emphasized the youth’s energy is wasted in protesting. It can be utilized in development, progress and peace on multiple levels. He further added that the youth should concentrate these energies on their studies and not lose hope. They always have their vote and have the power to choose the right leaders for themselves.
In addition, the Government should also take notice, acknowledge and ensure affirmative action to those protesting. They should communicate and negotiate with these groups. On the other hand, protesting groups should also be patient and willing to compromise. The solutions they demand are not necessarily the only solutions. There are multiple alternative approaches to resolving a single problem. In case of the EGAB and BPA, those who are unemployed could try and seek out opportunities for entrepreneurship with help from the government. An example of this model is how the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government financially supported marketable start-ups to lessen unemployment and improve the state of the economy.
It is important to keep in mind the power of your vote and communicating your concerns in a more civilized manner. The youth are the biggest portion of the population all over the country, therefore, their concerns are always going to be the Government’s priority. However, progress takes patience and time. Change is gradual. Once we have had our voices heard, the next step is to wait for the government to take action.