*This article has originally been published on Sharnoff’s Global Views
The world has kept an eye on the epicenter of development in the region. Balochistan, an emerging sovereign economy in Asia, has held successful dialogues with the United States to start a multi-billion project in Reko Diq.
After turning down the proposals by China and India, Balochistan’s Secretary of Petroleum and Natural Resources was invited by US authorities to finish the deal.
China was very keen to have the project in the interest of newly discovered gold mines in the region. The project will be inaugurated on October 22, the day Balochistan will celebrate its 16th anniversary.
Balochistan sets examples for developing countries
The country has one of the fastest growing GDP’s in the world with a ratio of 20 percent. Since independence, 22 new universities and medical colleges have been built. Three leading international universities have shown interest in opening campuses in the cities of Quetta, Turbat and Gwadar. The International Monetary Fund ranked the country in the top ten, while the World Bank ranked it in the top 15 for doing business. The Economist hailed the country as most financially liberal in the region.
Since Pakistan accepted Balochistan as a sovereign nation, the country has maintained very friendly relations with the neighboring countries. Pakistan’s premier signed a gas project after the worst energy crisis hit the country.
Now Balochistan will export gas to Afghanistan and Pakistan through pipelines. Balochistan has been negotiating with the Iranian government on Iranian-occupied Balochistan for greater autonomy and self-determination. Many Baloch from Iran have migrated to Balochistan since independence which has made the Iranian authorities more cautious, and human rights violations have decreased.
Gwadar, the industrial hub of the country, has become one of the best tourist spots in the region. The largest port in the country is a model for the other cities in the world. In the last 10 years, the city’s population has doubled. Some of the world’s largest corporations have regional offices in the city, and it has become one of the best cities for job opportunities.
High-speed rail will start functioning in all the major cities of Balochistan connecting to Gwadar. The metro system in Gwadar will be completed in two years, which will be the most advanced ever built in the region. Balochistan is planning to build two other major ports after the master plan of Pasni was completed by the help of China. The new ports will be built in Jiwani, a suburb of Gwadar city and Ormara, 230 km (143 miles) away from Gwadar.
Secular, democratic and pluralistic
Balochistan is becoming very diverse because people from neighboring countries are emigrating for better lives. Since independence, 50,000 Hazaras have returned to Balochistan. They were targeted and forced by the militant groups to become refugees in different countries before independence.Pashtuns are enjoying new-found equality. Regardless of religion, ethnicity and color, the country provides equal opportunities to all its people.
The country is submitting a bid for hosting the 2058 Asian Games.
It has seen a rapid growth in the world of sports. Football and cricket are the most popular sports in the country. Last year, Balochistan won the first two matches in the AFC cup. And, the national cricket team has qualified for the upcoming ICC world cup.
While previously unknown and neglected, today many people know Balochistan for being a lucrative and prosperous land.
Changiz Baluch is from Balochistan, Pakistan. He is currently based in the USA and is a Fulbright recipient of Community College Initiative Program. He is also a freelance writer and human rights activist focusing on Balochistan. His interests include popular culture, sports, Literature and movies. Other activities include blogging and contributing to Sharnoff’s Global Views, The Baloch Hal and Bolan Voice.
Cover image ‘Balochistan‘ by watchingfrogsboil