Dr Abdul Malik Baloch Chief Minister Balochistan
Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, a visionary politician hailing from Turbat, a remote area in Makran District, became the 20th Chief Minister of Balochistan on 7th June, 2013. This is the very first time in the history of the province that a person belonging to middle class, rather than the tribal chiefs, attained this coveted slot.
Previously, he had also served as the Provincial Minister for Health during 1988-90, and was also appointed as the Education Minister in 1993. He is widely hailed as being a visionary politician and a positive change in the politics of Balochistan.
He is an ophthalmologist by profession. Besides, he has deep interest in literature as well. It was due to his personal interest that recently Faiz Chair was established at the University of Balochistan.
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): After the election results, were you expecting that you are going to be the Chief Minister of Balochistan?
Chief Minister (CM): Not at all! I wasn’t expecting it. However, the politicians here showed trust in me and I was unanimously elected the Chief Minister of Balochistan.
JWT: Being Chief Minister, what are the four areas you are going to focus?
CM: Well, the foremost challenge before us is that of law and order which is multidimensional. It includes targeted killings, bullet-ridden bodies, missing persons and sectarianism. My government also prioritizes the provision of education, improvement of health facilities and, above all, the governance. We got the home work done on these issues and now, in consultation with our coalition partners, we have carved out strategies to implement our plans. We have also decided to have quarterly sessions to review the pace of the implementation of our policies to deal with these challenges.
CM: I think the delay in cabinet-making is mainly related to the PML (N) and other coalition partners but cabinet will be formed soon Insha Allah. We hope that once the cabinet starts functioning, it will, definitely, overcome the governance issues. As far as the burden on me is concerned, I am putting in relentless efforts to solve the problems and that will also get an impetus after the cabinet is formed.
JWT: Recently, during your surprise visit to the secretariat, most officers were not present. Does it depict a particular mindset of the bureaucracy? How would you deal with this mindset?
CM: Yes, indeed, this mindset is again a challenge for any elected government because the officers with such mindset don’t acknowledge the political authority. Though many of them are corrupt, inefficient and don’t consider them the servants of public, we do have very good officers. With the support of these officers who are honest, professionally brilliant and want to deliver the best, we, InshaAllah will change this mindset.
CM: Yes, I do agree that the funds were misappropriated and were not prudently utilized because of the rampant corruption during the previous regime. But we shall make sure that even a single penny is used properly for the welfare of people and we have already chalked out a mega plan to revive the beauty of Quetta Valley. The programme includes repair of roads, water supply schemes, sanitation and waste management to name a few.
JWT: Don’t you think that being head of a ‘coalition government’ will be a hurdle in implementing your plans?
CM: Admittedly, coalition governments are difficult to run and we, too, are facing the difficulties but it doesn’t mean that a coalition government cannot deliver. In fact, all three parties in our coalition have their own visions for a prosperous and developed Balochistan and we all are determined to produce good results because people have given us the mandate for this purpose, and at the end of the day, we have to go to the people again.
CM: I think it is for the first time that we had not sold our land. Previously, every government tried to sell the land but we gave it to the federal government on equity basis. We are the stakeholders in the new energy policy as the federal government will complete the Dadu-Khuzdar and Dera Ghazi Khan-Loralai transmission line here. Now, Balochistan will get its due share and dividends of whatever projects are initiated on the land of Balochistan. Moreover, the present federal government is ready to address our apprehensions and I must say that it’s a good omen. Being the Chief Minister of Balochistan, I want to make it very clear that we will not compromise on our land and identity of the Baloch.
JWT: What steps will you take for the unemployed youth of Balochistan?
CM: Well, we are going to announce, very soon, internship programs, six thousand scholarships and capacity building plans for the unemployed youth of Balochistan because it is an asset that cannot be neglected.