The province of Balochistan is home to a teeming population of 12.3 million people (5.9% of total population of the country) out of which 5.8 million (47.5%) are women. Blessed with a vast geographical spread (45% of Pakistan’s territory) as per 2017 Census and rich mineral and natural resources, Balochistan presents huge development opportunities for the people of Balochistan.
Gwadar deep seaport is projected to be the hub trade corridor to and from China and the Central Asian republics. China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) carries transformative potential for the people of Balochistan. With estimated $7.1 billion initial investments through CPEC, Balochistan ranks second in its share from $46 billion according to the statistics of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform. Balochistan, in general, and Gwadar, in particular, is the linchpin of CPEC.
According to the Multidimensional Poverty Index of 2016 released by UNDP, Balochistan remains the most deprived, fragile and conlict-sensitive province in Pakistan. Internal conflicts complicated by geo-strategic location and external actors have arrested development. As a pivot to the West Asia region, the province has suffered turmoil and a constant influx of refugees until recently that reshaped the demographic profile of the province.
Ethnic, sectarian and religious formations including recent waves of sub-nationalism, migration and urbanization pose additional challenges to social development processes. Recent rise in transnational organized crimes such as human trafficking, smuggling, illicit drugs and cross border violence have added heightened concerns among the local populace. The law enforcement institutions including the army are supporting maintenance of law and order including some social sector services such as disaster management, education and emergency relief.
There are serious gaps in capacity and performance of the Rule of Law institutions and the CJS in particular which are undermining the pursuit of public safety and development goals. Reforms in the CJS and the Rule of Law institutions overall will, therefore, be critical to improve order and security and to capitalize on the development opportunities for the people of Balochistan.