Archive for September, 2013

The most unfortunate man in the world

I have no stats to prove this, no evidence to support my argument but if you are destined to be the most unfortunate person in the world you will be born as a baloch in Balochistan

Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan, 45% of the countries land with the largest coastline of more than 700 Kms. The strategic location of the Balochistan’s Gawader port and its international borders with Afghanistan and Iran make it a Global Trade Corridor to China, Central Asia and even the gulf. Out of 50 minerals produced and exported from Pakistan 40 have reserves in Balochistan, with energy resources as Uranium, hydrocarbon and natural gas.

But that is not unfortunate – Lucky you eh? There is more.

Balochistan has one of worlds largest copper and gold reserves. The gold mines in Balochistan are compared to those in Sarcheshmeh, Iran and Escondida, Chile, which are the second and the third largest known deposits of copper in the world. The copper reserves are said to generate 900,000 to 2.2 million tons annually.

Now let’s see with all that mineral wealth and strategic location how your life would be??

Well if you are born in Balochistan chances are you may live for lesser than 28 days as 72 in every thousand newborns die within that time period, most of them from preventable causes. Children in south-Sudan or Ethiopia would have better chances then you to survive.

If you are lucky enough to survive first 28 days of your life is a high chance you may not live to see your 5th birthday, as out of every thousand children under 5 years, 89 die mostly from conditions such as diarrhea, pneumonia and other vaccine preventable conditions. In case you survive this possibility for you to see your mother is very slim. Because it is a high probability your mother will die giving birth to you or a few days after that.Maternal mortality of Balochistan is 785/100,000 live births , as compared to 272/100,000 live births in Pakistan.

In fact if Balochistan was a country it would have been on the 8th country with highest maternal mortality ratio in the world (next to south-Sudan,  Chad , Somalia, Central African Republic,  Burundi and Guinea-Bissau) You think you are lucky you lived...Think again because there is a 50% chance that you will be chronically malnourished as every one in two child in Balochistan is stunted. Research suggests that stunting affects cognitive skills and mental development, school performances and economic productivity.

Only 40% of the population in the province is covered by community based health workers and facilities are even less.

Children of Balochistan

Children of Balochistan

Now you are 6 and survived the odds somehow,

pray and pray hard that you are in those 44% children who are enrolled in primary school. Though there are nearly 10,000 primary schools in Balochistan but probability of that school being without a teacher or not practically existing on ground is very high. (They call it a Ghost school)

So now you have had your primary education because you are not that unfortunate…you have to pray again and pray harder because 77% of children enrolled in primary school dropout and may not attend a middle/secondary school.  But do remember only 30% of the schools are in a satisfactory condition probably you will be sitting on floor outside under a tree shed.

Moreover, remember you have to be a boy to achieve this because if you are a girl your chances to be in a middle/secondary school drop by 50% Now since you are the lucky one – you might fulfill your secondary education and you can actually get a chance to get some higher education –in one of the ONLY three universities in the province.

School in Kalat Balochistan

School in Kalat Balochistan

 you are done studying , young energetic looking for employment

You know unemployment rate in Balochistan is 33.4 % which is not that bad you know why because that’s better than being in Afghanistan where this rate is 35%.

So 70% chances are you may get some work But wait there is also a 70% chance that you will earn less than 2 dollars a day. And there is an equal (70%)chance that your household will not have access to food, or there will be no food available to your family.

DAMN!! You thought that was tough

Now imagine you have to live in a ongoing conflict as-well

You can also be in one of those people in an estimated range of 4,000-14,000 people who just disappear. Don’t be shocked. You can actually be one of those who are subjected to enforced disappearances.

If you are luckier you can be killed in a target attack or a bomb blast well more than 500 people have lost their lives in such incidents only in 2013. (Figures go beyond thousands for past one decade)

This is not just any conflict this includes separatist movements, sectarian violence and state funded violence.

A small girl holding a picture of a missing young boy ...

A small girl holding a picture of a missing young boy …

 Now imagine how unlucky you would be if in the midst of all this there is a 7.8 magnitude earthquake

68.5% chances are that you live in a mud house with half or less percent of chances of having a radio, tv or any mode of transport.

And if you are in the worst affected Awaran district do remember that there are no metalled roads in the district and only 584 KMs of graveled road in an area of 21,630 square kilometers

SO WHEN THE 7.2 EARTHQUAKE STRIKES this is what you will see

  • Government does not have a head of provincial disaster management authority, there is no cabinet (no ministers as they were never formed even 3 months after elections) , Chief Minister is in London for a dead poets birthday , there are only 3 doctors in the  worst affected district  and only one ambulance.

  • Pakistani media and the nation is marveled by Earthquakes precious gift ..The NEW ISLAND!!

  • The relief work is targeted (supposedly) by the separatist groups …

  • The armed forces (allegedly) are holding aid, checking, harassing, and suspecting relief workers and aid being a masked effort to support the separatists

  • Aid workers (if there are a few or any) too fearful to get in the areas and at the same time striving for funds as international organizations have not been asked for help

  • International organizations (theoretically saviors of humanity) waiting for a letter or a piece of document to save lives of people

More than 300,000 people..People like you are affected and over 500 HUMAN BEINGS as human as you lose their lives.

A girl walks past a collapsed house  following the earthquake

A Pakistani girl walks past a collapsed house following the earthquake

And there you are the unfortunate one who lives;

you will either be looking for your loved ones under the debris or burying them in an unknown ditch like Miral a resident of Awaran

Or you are searching for food among the rubble of your once standing mud-house starving for days without any food and water supplies You are waiting for help..

When there are more important things than you and your dead a new island, a dead poets anniversary , a freedom fight and a rotten policy to counter conflict. So here you go..

The most unfortunate person in the world!!


(All the stats are referenced from Demographic Health Survey Pakistan 2007, UNICEF  WHO and UNESCO studies on health and education)


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