Imagining Balochistan, one can relate it to Tibet, the most isolated and largest province of China. Tibet and China have many things in common; both are having big mountains with large altitudes. Both have low populations with a major chunk of barren land. Both have natural reserves and minerals of high importance. Moreover, both enjoy the god blessed great geostrategic location, whereas Tibet is actually isolated and landlocked while Balochistan is at the crossroads of Asia connecting central Asia, South Asia and West Asia. Another blessing to Balochistan is the 600 km long coastline with direct access to the sea. Gwadar is not just of immense significance to the province but is a piece of good fortune for the entire country.

Having common borders with Iran to the west, Afghanistan and the Central Asian states to the north and India to the east, no other region of Pakistan is gifted with such a strategic location as that of Balochistan. Here, it is important to mention the projected Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline which will pass through the coastal belt of the Balochistan.

Having numerous geostrategic advantages and an abundant supply of natural resources, there are some valid concerns for Balochistan. Some of them are explained below.

Road and Railway Networks:

As mentioned earlier the Balochistan province is a low populated area. The movement in the southern, central and western Balochistan is minimal. Above that, the situation gets worsened when the area has a poor road network. So the key development requirement is a good and effective communication network as the transportation system works in synchronization with good roads. However, the initial steps should be the construction of efficient highways and inter-district roads which would connect the remote parts of Balochistan with the mainstream of the province.

Discussing the above mentioned roads network fiasco, the geographical image should be crystal clear. In the eastern part of the province, there is Quetta-Kalat-Khuzdar-Bela-Karachi highway which is linked with Quetta in north and Karachi in the south. The recent development of CPEC and coastal highway is one of the milestones achieved by the Government of Pakistan. More highways are required to connect the remote area with each other as now Gwadar is functional.

Discussing the communication network, the underdeveloped Balochistan is now having all air support specifically Quetta and Zhob in the northeast, and Panjgur, Turbat, Pasni and Gwadar in the south. These cities are linked by air routes.

Water Supply and Climate Change:

 One of the most eminent non-traditional threat to the world is climate change and Pakistan is also one of the victims. Focusing on Balochistan, with exceptions of few mountain ranges, there is no proper scheme for water storage which will have a backfire on new development projects in Balochistan. The Government of Pakistan must develop small dams and store natural waters in it. Turkey is the best example in producing small dam projects and Pakistan must take the advantage from Istanbul in this regard. These dams must construct across the rivers which are running from central Balochistan to the Arabian Sea. “Karez” system is old-fashioned but still applicable as in Northern Balochistan.

Fruit Cultivation:

In northeast Balochistan, the climate is very suitable for farming and cultivation as there is rainfall with good summers. Such weather is very suitable for various fruits which have demands from International markets.  The vegetables and fruits grown in the northeast of Balochistan find the Karachi market as the user consumption there is of high level. If proper water supply is given to the region then the production can be taken to a larger scale. Balochistan’s vegetables and fruits can be supplied to the international market. This will eventually put a vital increment on the GDP of Pakistan. Most markets to be covered with the shipment of these fruits and vegetables are Middle East and central Asian states.

Natural Minerals:

Balochistan is rich in natural minerals specifically oil and gas. The area of Sui in Marri-Bugti is well known because of Gas. Other than that Balochistan produces a great market of onyx, the demand of which is quite high in the international market. People use that resource in making pieces of decoration. Above all that there is copper, fibre and marble in dozens of places in Balochistan. A proper framework is needed to be designed for digging these minerals, so there should be avoidance of outrageous programs like RIKO DIQ.

Analysing the present status of the human and economic development of the area revealed that Balochistan is not backward as made out by a particular section of the population living over there. Still, there is room for improvement. Those who belong to Balochistan should be aware of the fact that the area is of great strategic importance. Its strategic significance has increased specifically after the opening of Gwadar port.


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