Dear Dr Malik Baloch
For the first time in history of Balochistan, a common man will be leading the province. The way elections were conducted under fear and terror I don’t know if I should be hopeful, but I will be.
Respected Chief Minister I write to you requesting you as a Baloch and as a citizen of Pakistan belonging to the province of Balochistan to always remember a few daunting facts when you take decisions, sign documents and when you lead this war-torn province.
Dr Malik our people are poor, unemployed and they face hunger. Our people still live in caves!!
You must know that more than 50% population in our province lives below poverty line, and situation in worse in rural Balochistan where more than 70% of people live in poverty. Every 7 in 10 household in Balochistan are food insecure, meaning they have no access to food or there is no availability of food.
Dr.Malik let’s take a look at health in Balochistan.
Do you know that our future is at stake? More than half of children under age of 5 in Balochistan are chronically malnourished, and the condition is irreversible. Malnutrition will affect a child’s health making the child more prone to disease, it will affect their cognitive skills resulting in loss of productivity and thus affecting their socio-economic adult lives.16% of the malnourished children are suffering from severely acute malnutrition – this is above the World Health Organization threshold of a emergency.
If a child is born in Balochistan there are high chances he/she may not live to see his 5th birthday.89 in every thousand children under 5 years of age die mainly from conditions as “Diarrhea”, “Pneumonia” and vaccine preventable infections. Even though there are programs such as Expanded Program on Immunization and Polio Eradication Initiative working in Balochistan only 35% of the children in the province are fully immunized which his lowest in the cou
ntry. Moreover, Quetta, Pishin and Killa-Abdullah are kno
wn as the Highest Risk areas for polio in world.
Dr. Malik being a medical doctor you must be well aware of the fact that the Maternal Mortality in Balochistan is highest in South Asia. 81% of the deliveries are not carried out by any skilled birth attendants putting mothers at risk of losing their life. In fact when you compare it to the world ranking Balochistan would rank in top 15 countries with highest m
ortality rates in the world. Every one of two women are anemic and micronutrient deficient.
You know more than me that an individual spends a handful of money and travels for miles to get to a health
facility. When he reaches a Basic Health Unit he receives inadequate health services, there is poor management, staff is absent,
the numbers of trained professionals are limited and there is no accountability for any of this. Story of hospitals is even worse there are only a few hospitals in the province, severely mismanaged and overburdened leading to further deterioration of health overall.
The truth is positions in Health department are highly politicized, nonqualified inefficient individuals wit
h strong linkages with ministers get to managerial positions in the sector damaging the system through mismanagement, lack of accountability and corruption.
You were former Education Minister of the province, while your party boycotted the elections this is how education in Balochistan is now.
Dr.Malik frequently when I hear people talking about people of Balochistan they refer to us as “Jahil” and that word kills me, because people don’t know our struggle for education. When some of us survive this struggle as Dr Mazaar Khan did and they get killed, or Zakir Majeed who get abducted it only throws us hundreds of years back.
But Dr Malik how can I tell people we are not “Jahil” when more than one million children of primary school going age are out of schools. 77% of the primary school age group do not attend elementary schools .The National Education Survey suggests that three fourth of our population is illiterate, where female literacy in rural Baluchistan is lower than 10%. .
How can it get better when only 30% of our schools are in a satisfactory condition and services are not existent ? Various data sources suggest that there are thousands of ghost schools and teachers in Balochistan .
Someone lucky enough to survive the unfortunate circumstances of primary and secondary education will come to notice that there are only three universities in Balochistan for higher education and two of them have already been targeted by the extremist groups. Dr.Malik you and I both know how hard it is for a gir
l to get education , it’s a life time effort… an endless fight , and when these girls get to university only some of them are
allowed to work. When some of these girls get killed on roads as they did this week it only stops other girls to put that effort and fight that fight.
I am not much familiar with infrastructure development however I know for a fact that as soon as you enter suburbs of Quetta, the roads become rough and at some point within a few hours they end. As soon as you are out of Quetta you see
poverty in Pakistan’s richest province.
Our challenges regarding health and education are long term and they need long term planning. Security is the major hurdle in any of our progress I agree… But political recruitments, no regards to merit, lack of accountability, and corruption are killing more people. When you chose your team and when you sit on the seat remember that many of us don’t have food to eat, many of us die due to lack of facilities and many of us may never read a book because our own people failed us.