Monthly Archives: August 2012

An exclusive interview with Dr. Ababagar Baloch

Interviewed by Muhammad Akbar Notezai

Certainly, education of Balochistan is neither being paid heed by provincial government nor federal. The educational institutions of Balochistan, unfortunately, wear a deserted look. That is why we went to Dr. Ababagar Baloch, who is running BSAC (Baloch Students Action Committee) in order to highlight the issues related to the education, asked him questions about the education of Balochistan and its institutions’ deplorable condition.

(Blv stands for Bolan Voice, and Dr means Dr. Ababagar Baloch)

Blv: how do you see the education system of Balochistan?

Dr: It is true that it is an old system because if you have a primary school in Balochistan, so there is only one teacher to handle all the classes of primary level. He has just 5 hours in a day and during this time he has to go one by one in every 6 classes in order to teach them their subjects. It means your primary schools have not been provided basic facilities that education system at this level would be improved. As primary class students get upgraded into middle level classes, so they are not eligible. Therefore, in this present time, education system of Balochistan doesn’t full fill the need of students for getting education.

As we have a glance over Punjab’s primary level classes, then there even at private primary and government schools more than 38 teachers are present. It means on one hand, you have provided one teacher to teach six classes, but on the other hand, you have provided 38 teachers to teach six classes. In our and their education system earth and sky difference lies because we have teachers’ number and structure difference from Punjab. Their primary schools are like our colleges; since 1965 till today no change has been brought in our education system.

Blv: what are the draw backs in our education system and how to eliminate these all draw backs from our education system?

Dr: There is plethora of draw backs in our education system, not as one. As I told you that structurally we are not sound, secondly, unqualified leaders are cape pie involved in corruption. Thirdly, those are sitting in education departments are disqualified. Our minister education has been a shop keeper, then directly was brought to the seat of education, except Quetta he doesn’t go anywhere. So, can these kinds of unqualified people promote the education whose aims are just to sell the posts!

There is lack of teachers in rural Balochistan, especially the science teachers and mathematics teachers; therefore, it is impossible to fill the vacuum in those areas. Sadly, matric passed students take classes there; unqualified people prefer to join two fields i.e. teaching and journalism. This is the reason these two fields are worsened in Balochistan.

Throughout Balochistan, Science teachers and Mathematics teachers at college level, Biology teachers, Physics and Chemistry teachers at high level, are not present. That is why students while taking their papers cheat and ahead the same students can’t compete whether that is for a test professional colleges or competitive exam.

Elimination of these draw backs are at the hands of government, not at my hands that I would eliminate. As you know that government is not even least interested in resolving the issues of education along with provincial government.

If you take a look at University of Balochistan, it gets closed over petty matters, also they postpone exam by virtue of same matters. Even BRCs (Balochistan Residential Colleges) of Turbat and Khuzdar are in deplorable condition. Those facilities and teachers are available at BRC Lorlai, not available at BRC Turbat and Khuzdar because Baloch students are getting education at these places.

Blv: Do you agree that along with government our own people are also attributed towards the apathy of education in Balochistan?

Dr: Indeed, our own people are also involved, but 70 to 80 per cent government is involved. Truly, in government, there are also our own Balochs, like Governer, Chief Minister and majority of members in provincial assembly. But these are not representatives of Baloch masses, also have not been elected by Baloch masses. They are brought for someone else’s agenda, not sincere with Baloch students or people.

As far as mass parties are concerned they are not taking any effective step for improvement of education, except giving statements in news papers. It is because of our education committee that we are raising voice and highlighting the issues related to the education in spite of having limited resources. In addition, mass parties are incognizant of education of Balochistan, they neither know about merit system nor quota.

On the other hand, as you know those Baloch non parliamentarian parties point blank committed not to take anything from Pakistan. They have been rejecting every times the packages, etc, of government. So, I don’t hold them responsible for the worst education of Balochistan, but I am astonished at parliamentary parties that say our vision is to ameliorate the education of Balochistan, actually they are not doing so. They are in government just for minting money, not are interested in Baloch youth and their education.

Blv: What has BSAC (Baloch Students Action Committee) done for the improvement of education in Balochistan?

Dr: The aim or vision of BSAC is just to highlight the problems of education, and we are doing the same. We discuss the issues related to the education in media. In a realistic manner, these works are of BSO, but BSO is striving for its great goal. In the same way, BSO lost its 98 members. We are also its part.

Besides these all, we formed BSAC for the purpose of aspiring for students’ rights.

Undoubtedly, we are not expecting anything from government; however, we highlight the issues in media that our education system abounds with these problems. Consequently, we released a report as well as dispatched it to Chief Minister, Governor, ministers, political parties, BBC and some well known writers, like Hamid Meer and Saleem Sahafi to remind them the issues of education in the province.

Blv: BSO, despite being students’ party, why don’t they struggle for students’ rights?

Dr: No, it is wrong. They are struggling, like in rallies and demonstrations, they stand side by side with us. BSO, on both sides, on national issues as well as on educational issues is playing a pivotal role.

As far issues of Marine, IT and University of Balochistan are concerned, so they have been working hard to resolve these institututions’ students’ problems as soon as possible.

Blv: About which BSO are talking about? BSO (M) and BSO (Pajjar) are against you; they also criticize you along with your students’ committee?

Dr: BSO is BSO whether you say “Azad”, “Mohyddin” or “Pajjar”, but as you asked me about BSO (M) and Pajjar, so I want advise them through your magazine to invest their energy only for education. Unfortunately, they did not do anything up till today as its BSO Pajjar’s slogan “Safe education-safe nation,” now I leave it up to you to decide it whether they have worked for education or not. Guy, I don’t want to criticize them, but regarding educational matters they haven’t done anything.

Blv: There is no quality education; so how to bring qualitative education in Balochistan?

Dr: There can’t be quality education in Balochistan unless you get your rights, state and control over your land. It is true that Balochistan is New-Colonial of Pakistan. According to Pakistan’s article 1238, a common citizen’s rights are there in it, but it can’t be implemented on Baloch people because pigheaded Pakistani establishment also considers Balochistan its colony, and to slaves they can’t educate.

Nevertheless, today’s era is the era of education, so those limited resources or facilities we have, we must utilize them for our benefit. We have to get education from the same counted and broken institutions because we are compelled to do so.

Moreover, late Akbar Khan Bugti and Attah Ullah Mengal little bit worked for the improvement of education, after them no one seemed to work for education in the province.

Blv: Why don’t we have any institution that can regulate the standard of education in the province?

Dr: It is, as I told you above, at the hands of government to regulate the standard of education in the province, which they don’t do.

Blv: Why don’t you seek help from BSO (M) and BSO (Pajjar) regarding improvement of education?

Dr: No, I don’t want to seek help from them because BSAC is a platform, not an organization. They both themselves work for education as I said that slogan of BSO Pajjar is “Safe education-safe nation,” but they are not working on it, so they ought to. Additionally, their party leaders themselves are insincere with their members as they are employed, are not students actually.

Blv: What do you say about the bad condition of the institutions in the province?

Dr: It is before everyone and along with bad condition Baloch students are being exploited by many ways, hence one of the ways is the admission policy of the IT university, where only 2 percent Baloch students are enrolled, while second is the University of Balochistan where in one department is quota system, in second NtS gives tests and in third one is merit system.

It is also to be noted that, out of 30 districts of Balochistan, 22 districts are of the Baloch people, besides it, in two districts of Balochistan i.e. Quetta and Lorlai where Baloch people are also residing in great number. It means only 5 or 6 districts are of Pashtuns. So, ironically, Baloch students despite having these all, are being treated badly and exploited in Quetta’s institutions. Along with students the number of Baloch teachers only at University of Balochistan is as follows: 24 associate professors, 133 assistant professors, 36 professors and 289 lecturers. Hence the number of Balochs: Professors 5, associate professors 1, assistant professors 16 and only 43 lecturers. It means total number of teachers 482, in which only 65 Balochs are there. Surprisingly, majority of 65 Baloch teachers belong to languages departments where non-Balochs can’t come.

Blv: Do the mega projects provide the students scholarships?  

Dr: No, they are never ever provided, but I heard, in spite providing scholarship, they are providing them charity in the name of it. We don’t need charity; want good institutions. There are 123 or 124 universities are in Pakistan while 5 of them are in only Balochistan, besides it, out of 80 medical colleges just one medical college is in Balochistan.

As a matter of fact, these institutions should be upgraded as soon as possible, also those facilities which are provided in Punjab and Sindh should be provided in Balochistan.

Blv: why are you against the admission policy of IT?

Dr: I am against the admission policy because its policy never exists anywhere in entire country. The biggest university of your country is Quaid-a-azam University, interestingly, there is quota system, as well as at engineering university Khuzdar, Bolan medical college, is Sindh and Punjab, but, unfortunately, only at IT university there is merit system, students from all over Pakistan can get addmission at IT universirty, not those who are indigenous to Balochistan. IT University is running by Balochistan’s resources, but Balochs are two percents there. According to constitution article 22, 25 and 37, if education is not good, so govt itself on equality basis should educate them through quota system.

Blv: Why are you against merit system?

Dr: No, it is wrong I am not against merit system. Let me tell you merit means through qualified and disciplined way a student comes. If a student is of IT University, he has done his metric FSc from Quetta, on the other hand those students who are from Washuk and Gwadar these students can’t get admission at IT university, they neither have proper schools nor teachers in rural Balochistan. They also can’t compete with Quetta’s students, because they and Quetta’s students’ education earth and sky difference lies. In this way, merit system is impossible here in Balochistan. We only want district merit system in Balochistan which is part of merit system?

Blv: Are secretary and education minister working for the betterment of education?

Dr: No, they are not; I want to give you the example of BRCs that before students of these colleges were satisfied with their education at these colleges, but, sadly, due to the government and its education minister education ruined. They are dumb and deaf.

Blv: Why are teachers being targeted in Balochistan?

Dr: Because in Balochistan situations are like belligerents, by the way, their killings are condemnable, but it is also to be noted that, some try to spy against the Baloch nation, and then they definitely get killed.

Some say only settlers are being targeted in Balochistan, then more than 10, 0000 settlers are still residing in Balochistan. Why don’t they get killed? Unfortunately, our own teachers, intellectuals and journalists, like Professor Saba Dashthiyari, Nazir Marri, Dr. Mazar Khan, Dr. Baqir Shah, etc. These all have been killed.

Blv: How do you differentiate between our education system with Punjab’s education system?

Dr: Just age of Punjab university is more than one century, as far as our Balochistan university is concerned, it only of 30 years.

There is a huge difference between our education system and Punjab’s because I myself have been to Punjab, certainly, I saw their environment and the way of teaching of the teachers.

In Balochistan, FC personnel changed your educational institutions into military garrison; also students get abducted by them.

On time, you can neither give exam nor complete your education. In addition, teachers are also unqualified, merely completing the formality in Balochistan.

Blv: Why does civil military intervene in educational matters of Balochistan?

Dr: This complains we have from government; but, unfortunately, government doesn’t want to let the Balochs for getting education. They mentally and physically torture Balochistan’s students that they should quit education. The most typical example is the Degree College, Quetta, which has been used as a torture cell.

Blv: Do you think that Nawaz Sharif should also distribute laptop among Baloch students?

Dr: Distribution of laptop among Baloch students is far-fetched idea, dear, if they would serve us a pen, then it would be their magnanimity. It is up to interests; they are interested in Punjab and Punjab is Pakistan, and Balochistan is not Pakistan. It is New-Colonial of Pakistan, here in Balochistan, he lamented, Chief Minister doesn’t know the value of degree, says “degree is degree whether that is fake one or original”.

However, we want good schools, colleges and universities. We want them to make Board in every zone of Balochistan as in Punjab and Sindh there 8, 8 boards.

Well, you asked me about the laptops; If our students don’t know the usage of laptop, then will they hit these with their head!

Blv: If Punjab’s CM works for amelioration of education, on the other hand, our CM why doesn’t work?

DR: Punjab’s CM has been elected by masses unlike our CM; our CM was brought to Balochistan Assembly, not by the masses. Our CM always claims mendaciously that education is worst due to law and order situation but he doesn’t know that it is worst by virtue of his so-called government.

BRC’s principle called me and said that as he sacked an unqualified staff member from his staff, then he received phone calls after phone calls to take him back to his position.

Blv: In rural Balochistan, students neither have proper school nor teachers, so how are you struggling for their rights?

Dr: I have been telling that nothing is available, including teachers and schools. We enunciated many times at many forums that education doesn’t exist there. We highlight these issues time and again in news papers, in social media, etc. Indeed, we recently raised voice against the closure of inter college Buleda, too. It is true; we raised voice against the deplorable condition of institution in Washuk, Hub, Gwadar, Chaghi, Nasirabad belt, etc. Our aim, again I say, is just to highlight the issues.

Blv: Do you hold your own Balochs responsible along with govt for the deplorable condition of education?

Dr: Dear, being a baloch never means to be an angel. I told you those who don’t have any business they teaching profession. These who are metric qualified, unfortunately, start teaching. If you take Aghaz-e-haqooq Balochistan, package you will perceive that all of come through discrimination, so these can how upgrade the education?

Teachers need to be trained that how to motivate, encourage and teach the students but it is impossible in Balochistan.

Blv: Why do the students get beaten charged when they protest for their rights?

Dr: It is the policy of government to torture the studenst to quit education. It has been going on for a long time, remember, when Pashtun students violently break windows, mirrors, doors and other valuables of colleges so they don’t get asked, but when we stage a sit-in they beat us, including female students.

Blv: Do you expect anything from government?

Dr: No, nothing. But from our nation’s struggle we have expectations.

Blv: What will be the future of education in Balochistan?

Dr: It will be more and more worsened like Dhaka’s education.

Blv: Can the education system be reformed?

Dr: Education system can’t be reformed until we have sincere, truthful and honest leaders. The corrupt leaders can’t reform the education system, well, let me share one more thing in 64 years we haven’t seen honest leaders. That is why we should not think that education system can be reformed.

(Courtesy to: Bolan Voice)


Pak-Iran Border and Baloch Traders’ Woes

By Muhammad Akbar Notezai

The Pak-Iran trade gate, Zero-Point, is Pakistan’s only single official legal border crossing into Iran. It is 600 kilometers from the provincial capital, Quetta, situated in Taftan, a town in district Chaghi District.
Besides, the Zero-Point trade gate, Iran built a 10-feet high concrete thick wall reinforced with steel rods along its own shared border with the Balochistan province which is stretching from Taftan to Mand in Turbat district.
According to Iranian authorities, the fence is built to prevent illegal border crossings, drug trafficking, terror attacks and unlawful transportation into Iran .
It is true that largely opium, hashish, heroin and morphine etc. is all smuggled into Iran but, on the other hand, Iranian fuel is also abundantly smuggled into Pakistan.
Across the border the Baloch people are densely populated. After the construction of the fence, Iran has divided the Baloch people economically, politically, culturally and socially. That is why the Balochs in Pakistan and Iran are fully cut off from each other although they have a fundamental right to interact and mingle with each other.
Kachkol Ali Baloch, the former leader of the opposition in Balochistan Assembly, raised voice against the construction of the said fence, saying that Balochs on both sides of the border were not taken into confidence while constructing the wall. It was, he rightly argued, made against the will of the Baloch people. He had also tabled a resolution in the provincial assembly but no one in the federal government paid head to his legislative move.
Since 2003, the Iranian authorities have shut down the Zero-Point on at least four different occasions. Iran justifies its moves by citing terror attacks, bomb explosions and suicide attacks in its Balochistan province.
Jundullah, a Sunni militant group led by Abdul Malik Regi, was allegedly responsible for these attacks who, according to Iranian authorities, had sanctuaries in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. Therefore, they kept closing the Zero-Point gate each time for six to seven months, depriving the local traders and populations of their livelihood.
Incredibly, Zero-Point remained closed after the execution of Abdul Malik Regi in Iran. Traders are in utter confusion regarding the closure of Zero-Point.
Ali Raza Rind, a senior local journalist of district Chaghi, said, “Iranian authorities unilaterally decide whether to open or close the border. Neither they consult Pakistan nor do they negotiate with the local Baloch tribal chiefs while making such important decisions about the Zero-Point. Sadly, local traders are in trouble from both sides because the Frontier Corps (F.C.) personnel also compel the traders to bribe them. Consequently, the problems of local traders and people are compounding instead of decreaseing.
While in the past goods from Iran were imported in large quantities, the supply has recently declined. The Iranians have enforced very stringent regulations on the border although goods are still being exported in a large quantity in Iran from the Pakistani side of the border.
It is beyond understanding why Pakistani authorities are silent on this key issue and playing the role of a silent spectator? They should pay immediate attention to this serious issue.
As this writer spoke to an old trader at Taftan border, he said angrily, “We have been enduring harsh and strict treatment from both sides of the border authorities. Sometimes, they physically assault us without any reason. The Zero-Point gets closed due to violence inside Iran but we frequently have to bear the brunt of it over here. There is no one to seriously address this issue. ”
The residents of Taftan, on their part, are deprived of basic necessities of life. They are so poor that they often send their children to work on the border.
Mega projects like Saindak and Reko Diq, are situated a few kilometers from Taftan but these projects barely offer any benefits to the people of Balochistan.
Labors in Taftan are compelled to work all the day under the sun in return of low very wages. The labors face same hardships as the local traders and the other citizens do in Taftan border area.
It is the government’s responsibility to resolve the problems of traders and local people on priority basis so that they continue earning a livelihood without much stress.

Published in The Baloch Hal on August 1, 2012