Balochistan needs motorway not a ministry
A view of Islamabad-Lahore Motorway: Photo Quetta Voice

Balochistan needs motorway not a ministry

Editorial :

Balochistan needs a motorway, not a ministry in the federal cabinet as demanded by the ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP). The ruling party expressed reservations about its share in the federal cabinet during its lawmakers’ meeting chaired by the chief minister, Jam Kamal Khan.

The party demanded a fair share in the federal cabinet and mentioned that it has sufficient representation in the Senate and National Assembly (NA). Simply, the party demands another federal ministry. The track record shows ministries offer no panacea to the ills of Balochistan.

In fact, Balochistan that covers half of the country in terms of the area has not a single kilometer motorway. Although, most parts of the country connected through motorways from Islamabad to Peshawar, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Sukkur, and other cities. Linking Balochistan with the rest of the country through a motorway was not and is not on the radar of governments.

Construction of motorways across the country has reduced the sufferings of masses in Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, Balochistan has not been on the agenda of rulers with regard to the construction of motorways to enable its masses to cover long distances in short times.

Nawaz’s nationalist partners also fail to construct a motorway

Nationalist allies of former ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N) failed to launch construction of a motorway in Balochistan despite having cordial relations with former premier Nawaz Sharif. Similarly, chief minister Jam Kamal has repeatedly lamented that the province has not a single kilometer motorway. But, he is yet to mount pressure on the federal government to convince it to launch the construction of the motorway.

Motorway, for the people of Balochistan, seems to be day-dreaming since the Quetta-Karachi highway, commonly called the “killer highway” has not been expanded, and work on its dualization is yet to be commenced. The RCD highway is a one-lane road that has heavy traffic as it connects the capital cities of two provinces. Since its construction by Iran and Turkey under the banner of RCD, it has never been improved, although the traffic has greatly increased on this road.

Moreover, the lack of motorway police, except at some spots, is yet another cause of concern. There are no checks by the traffic controlling agencies on the 813km highway. Vehicle papers and driving licenses are not checked, while there is no action against those who violate the safety rules.

The ruling BAP must come up with a demand for the construction of a motorway to address the long-standing demand of the people of Balochistan. Indeed, this would be a great service to the people. For the federal government, it must demonstrate responsibility to turn its words into action and bring Balochistan at par with other parts of the country.

Balochistan needs motorway not a ministry

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.