President’s recent blunder shows Pakistan’s ignorance about Balochistan

The people of Balochistan have for decades complained of living in oblivion in Pakistan. President Arif Alvi, during a recent visit to the region, confirmed such complaints to be just true when he found himself struggling to remember the names of Balochistan’s chief minister and governor.

In a speech on February 19 to open the historical Sibi Mela 2020, Alvi proved once again that the central government could not care less about the forsaken region and its people as he addressed Chief Minister Jam Kamal as Jamal Khan Aliani and Governor Amanullah Khan Yasinzai as Amanullah Khan Yousafzai.

Both Kamal and Yasinzai were present during the inauguration ceremony.

The irony gets better once you realize that the governor was appointed by the President himself on October 3, 2018.

Although the mainstream media, as usual, conveniently missed out on the spicy news opportunity, Balochistan’s Twitterati were quick enough to notice the blunder. Many said the President’s approach reflected the general indifference of Pakistani authorities towards Balochistan.

Alvi, just after his embarrassing blunder, went on to boast about how the central government was paying special attention to the “development of the province to end the sense of deprivation of the local people.”

Such promises to people of Balochistan — which have now become customary of every new President and Prime Minister — mean nothing when Alvi could not even pay enough attention to remember the names of the province’s top government officials. It will rather help grow the already simmering sense of deprivation and isolation.

Unfortunately, it is not just the central ruling elite who are ignorant of Balochistan’s affairs. The mainstream media and the people of other provinces, especially the dominant Punjab, seem to have shut themselves off from Balochistan. In a poll conducted by BBC Urdu a few years ago, Punjab’s university students could not even name two Balochistan cities.

If there is anything that Pakistani authorities can do for the region’s wary people is to stop paying special attention and just let them live and die on their homeland as they wish.