ISSN 2330-717X

Revamping The Health And Education Sector In Balochistan – OpEd

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For a long time, the province of Balochistan in Pakistan has remained a playground of externally supported anti Pakistan forces, mainly India, to instigate unrest and anarchy in the province. Foreign sponsored terrorists are trying hard to spread fake propaganda against the state and brainwash the youth of Balochistan. However, the progress and development that has taken place in Balochistan in recent past have really helped in transforming the lives of people specially youth in the region. Armed forces played a crucial role in the process by establishing several educational institutions and in many cases, the willing youth were taken to various cantonments by Army, Navy, and Air Force for better education opportunities with boarding and lodging sponsored and funded by the military itself.

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The famous political scientist Stephen Cohen talking about the armed forces of Pakistan said that; “there are armies that defend their country’s territory, armies that are concerned about defending their own position in society, and armies that defend a cause or ideology, and the Pakistan Army does all three.” The Army shares Pakistan’s economic burden for executing initiatives of nation building such as observed in Balochistan. In a recent episode when the civil administration was struggling to manage rescue operations while flooding in Balochistan, Pakistan Army stepped forward to save the people in a crisis situation. Moreover, during the efforts, Commander 12 Corps Lt Gen Sarfaraz Ali along with other senior officers and junior staff embraced martyrdom in a helicopter crash. Such kind of devotion in the top military brass is uncommon across the globe. 

Pakistan Army has made monumental contributions to the health and educational sector, particularly establishing free medical camps in Balochistan. Medical support during natural calamities, and supplementing gaps in provincial medical infrastructure through extending state-of-the-art medical facilities, training, and material support as selfless service for the Nation. During the earthquake in Balochistan in the year 2013, the Federal hospitals treated 20,009 affected in Awaran, Mashkey, Gashkre, and Mangoli areas. Moreover, during the Floods of 2010, medical support was also provided to more than 20 Million affected population. 

Pakistan Army is also making an all-out effort to enhance the education level of youth in Balochistan. On the orders of Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, students across the country have been accommodated in hostels managed by the army. In order to train unskilled people, the army has established various technical institutes in collaboration with National Vocational and Technical Education Commission (Navtec) while the Army School of Technician (AST) has been educating unemployed young people since 2006. Furthermore, Nearly, 113 schools are supervised by Pakistan Army and approximately 40,000 students across Balochistan are being educated in these schools. Pakistan Army Established 12 Army Schools and Colleges, 32 FC Schools, and Colleges, and 9 cadet colleges in Sui, Pishin, Mastung, Panjgur, Jaffarabad, Kohlu, Turbat, Noshki and Awaran. Seven latest Educational Projects include NUST at Quetta, Quetta Institute of Medical Sciences, Military College Sui, Sui Education City, Balochistan Public School Sui, Balochistan Institute of Technical Education, and Gwadar Institute of Technology, and Army Institute of Mineralogy. It is due to the selfless devotion of the armed forces that the province of Balochistan has been enabled to initiate a new era of institutional, human resource, and infrastructure development.

Humais Sheikh is an independent Defence Analyst based in Islamabad. He has completed his Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies from Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad.

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