Posts Tagged balochistan

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 ..as 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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To Dr. Malik Baloch

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

twitpic_448_462

(Photo credits Balochhal)

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

girls-school-Khulgai-baran-district-killa-saif-ullah-balochistan

A school in Balochistan

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.

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