Undoubtedly the challenges on economic and health front are colossal for the entire world and the aftereffects of the Corona shock would keep the world in their strong grip for a long time to come. The challenges for already vulnerable societies and therein for the most unprivileged and weak can be beyond imagination. The Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan Aliyani also expressed his concerns regarding the challenges the province is already facing on economic and health front. During a meeting with the Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and UN donor agencies, he raised concerns that government was grappling with daunting challenges on these two fronts and needed immediate and sustainable help from donor agencies to tackle with the crises of malnutrition, mother and child healthcare, job security and employment.
The federal government should also heed to the peculiar needs of Balochistan given its already precarious situation on the fronts mentioned. Balochistan is a vast land with little job opportunities and only a single semi urbanized city with huge slum localities. There are no other job opportunities that may rescue people from going unemployed as there is no private sector, no industrial zones and no agricultural activities to support the huge bulk of unemployed youth even in the normal days. In mega cities like Karachi, Gujranwala and Lahore job opportunities are more because of a vibrant private sector and heavy presence of industries which reduce the burden of government in providing employment to hundreds of thousands of people. Hence, the higher the number of employed in family, the higher its chances of getting better nourished, remaining socially secure and mentally calm. In Balochistan, things are quite different. Long tracts of barren lands, scattered population, and politically volatile, Balochistan’s population remains vulnerable to all kinds of social and economic risks.
The areas where people can be rescued in the province are live-stock, fisheries, and to some extent agriculture. The live-stock is currently in focus and the live-stock secretary is visiting different districts of Balochistan to implement Prime Minister’s poultry scheme under which 20,000 chicks would be distributed in eight districts on subsidized rates. Along with this scheme, the live-stock department should also promote cattle farming which is a centuries old practice of sustaining lives in these rugged mountains and barren plains. The live-stock department should organise workshops for the live-stock farmers and teach them modern techniques of farming, followed by loans to establish their farms on modern lines. This could bring a huge revenue not only for Balochistan but entire country as there is a growing demand for meat consumption in Pakistan and the world. The government can best capitalize on this demand by becoming a producer. In addition, the live-stock farming can also bring a huge revenue through dairy products. Much of dairy products in Balochistan are wasted owing to unavailability of proper packing and conservation facilities. The farmers should be imparted training in modern techniques of maximizing the dairy products and should be provided with packing and conservation facilities so that their products could be exported to rest of the country and world. There are many fronts where government can perform wonders and live-stock is one such area which has a huge potential if a genuine will to assist poor exists.