PRESS RELEASE, June 11, 2022
ISLAMABAD: A Dialogue on Balochistan was held in Quetta under the aegis of Islamabad
Policy Research Institute, and was participated by luminaries from the province, as well as
politicians, civil servants and people of repute from the academia.
The delegates comprised of Zobaida Jalal, MNA, Balochistan Awami Party; Senator Anwar ul
Haq Kakar (BAP), Fauzia Shaheen, Chairperson Provincial Commission on Status of Women
(PCSW), Balochistan; Syed Fida Hassan Shah, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police
Quetta; Dr. Sajida Naureen, Vice Chancellor Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University, Quetta;
Dr. Mir Sadaat Baloch, President Balochistan Council for Peace and Policy; Rafiullah Kakar,
CPEC/Public-Private Partnership Unit, Government of Balochistan; Fatima Nangyal Khan,
Member National Commission on Status of Women from Balochistan; Maria Malik, Research
Director Balochistan Think Tank Network (BTTN), Quetta; Liaquat Shahwani, ex-spokesperson
Balochistan government; Gohram Aslam Baloch, Journalist; Bushra Sadiqui, Bureau Chief GTV
Balochistan, and Zulfiqar Durrani, Provincial Representative/Head of Office, UNDP Sub-Office
Balochistan. President IPRI Ambassador (retd) Dr Raza Muhammad, Director Research IPRI
Brig (retd) Raashid Wali Janjua and Ambassador (retd) Asif Durrani were other focal persons
The roundtable resolved that deprivation creates a conducive environment for recruiting militants
and Pakistan’s development paradigm should be organic and horizontal.
It was noted that Pakistan’s approach to development in Balochistan has so far been skewed and
flawed with many well-read youngsters in Balochistan unhappy with enforced disappearances
which should be treated as a symptom not a cause.
The participants pondered over the critical issues faced by the desolate province and outlined the
fault-lines in CPEC as well as Public/ Private Partnership in the restive province.
The scholars gave a serious thought process and observed the Instrumentalist school of thought
where ethnicity does not get politicized in a vacuum but through elites pursuing political and
economic goals at the expense of the wider population. This explains the Balochistan situation.
The pressing issue of ‘enforced disappearances’ also came under the hammer, which is widely
considered by the locals as an extrajudicial act against the Baloch population. The solution lies in
confidence building measures with Baloch dissidents and the media must play a constructive role
in stopping and denouncing the modus operandi employed by Baloch militants such as suicide
bombings, it was agreed.
The roundtable members observed that political engagement as was the case during Chief
Minister Dr. Maalik Baloch’s era is important to address trust deficits. Similarly, conflict
resolution is not a sequential approach but a nested one. It was urged that a National Incubation
Center should be promoted for vocational training in the province.
In his summarizing remarks, President IPRI Ambassador Dr Raza Muhammad said that it is important to be empathetic while addressing the Balochistan question, and future discussions
should focus on critical areas such as health and education.
Islamabad Policy Research Institute on Tuesday, and was debriefed on the activities and scope of Pakistan’s premier think tank. The delegation was led by Ubaid Qureshi, President Youth Parliament of Pakistan, who expressed his interest in learning more from IPRI’s research work, and called for documenting a framework of interaction to project Pakistan’s case in a refreshing and realistic manner before the world at large.
IPRI’s Executive Director Dr Hussain Nadim highlighted the input of his think tank, and said that it is now more focused on a theme of synthetic research on the premise of data, innovation and technology. He said that founded in 1999, IPRI is Pakistan’s only internationally-recognized think tank rated at 74th in world ranking. It has signed 31 MoUs with more than 20 countries, and is the first one in Pakistan to have a digital library.
Brig. (retd) Naveed Ali, in his presentation, called upon the youth to carefully choreograph a narrative that is sellable in Europe, and one that should portray the real face of Pakistan. He urged that there is no need to indulge in sensitivities of Europe as the world is increasingly tilting towards nationalism and extremism. He pointed out that labour-intense industry, human rights and scholarship at graduate levels are areas where focus should rest so that the maximum could be worked out with Europe and the United Kingdom.
Earlier, IPRI Research Associate Umar Khan spelt out that GSP-Plus status, Islamophobia, illegal migration, Kashmir dispute and Free Trade Agreement are avenues that have the maximum potential of interaction between Pakistan and the EU.