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The Denial of Baluchistan Rights: A Case of Fake Domiciles

The constitutional, legislative and legal protections of Baluchistan must be ensured in order to make Pakistan a functional and just federation.
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Imran Zarkon

Myth busting: Examining the Balochistan Quota system in Pakistan 

Article one of the constitution of Pakistan declares Pakistan as a Federal Republic. A federation is a political organization that distributes powers between the centre and federating units. The distribution of powers is the most sensitive and complex phenomenon. Critics attribute that the distribution of powers is directly proportionate to the functionality of a state. Then, democracy and participation in the affairs of a federation are the hallmarks of a functional federation.

Representation and participation in national affairs have been the most intricate issue in Pakistan’s constitutional and federal development. Then, different federating units have imbalances in size, populations, resources and human resource development. Therefore a federation must ensure that a just and balanced distribution of powers occurs.

The province of Balochistan is the most unique in Pakistan. It is the largest province in size, however, the smallest in population. Then, there are cultural, ethnic and social dimensions also. Politically, Baluchistan has been marginalized, irrespective of varied arguments. There is a political and administrative alienation. Therefore, more often than not, the federation responds to the sensitivities of Balochistan. However, the fundamental question is whether or not the steps, guarantees and protections are delivered. The quota system is also one of the case studies in this regard. Has it benefitted Baluchistan or not?       

It is a general perception that the federation has obliged Balochistan through multiple Quota concessions. Provincial Quota in Pakistan refers to allocating a certain percentage of government jobs, educational institutions, and other opportunities to individuals based on their province of origin. This policy is intended to ensure that people from all regions of the country have equal access to resources and opportunities and address imbalances among the provinces. The percentage allocated for each province is typically based on the population size and other demographic factors. The province of Balochistan has a 6% quota in Pakistan. Apart from educational institutions, if we only take one case study of federal government jobs, almost 30 thousand employees are working on Balochistan quota from class four up to all the cadres of civil services of Pakistan.

The Ex-Governor of Balochistan, Justice (R) Amanullah Khan, asked the Federal government to provide data on all the employees working against the Balochistan Quota. The list of all these employees was sent to the Deputy Commissioners of Balochistan for on-ground verification and authentication. Among 33 Deputy Commissioners of Balochistan, only one DC of District Mastung, Mr Mehboob Ahmed, completed the process, and he found that out of 744 verification received, 400 were fake, which comprise more than fifty per cent. The largest number of domicile and local employees are from Quetta, Dera Bugti and Musakhel District of Balochistan. Among these 30,000 employees, when only the establishment Division was asked about its employees of 3245 working against Balochistan Quota, they replied that 322 had not mentioned their domicile, 3 have Domicile of AJK, 6 GB,1 Islamabad, 57 Pakhtunkhwa, 27 Punjab and 42 have domicile from Sindh, and those on Balochistan local and domicile still need to be verified from DCs. The above data of one District and One department shows the overall picture.

Furthermore, within Balochistan, there is a perception of the difference between Domicile and Local, and the convention is that tribes who are indigenous to the land or were present at the time of independence are local tribes of Balochistan, primarily Baloch and Pashtuns. Those who have migrated from other parts of India or later on from other provinces are considered domiciled, commonly called settlers. There is no difference or discrimination between a local or settler domicile for the purpose of availing Balochistan quota. In fact, the term ” Domicile ” is mentioned in the Pakistan citizenship act of 1951 and the citizenship rules of 1952, which refer to the grant of citizenship to an applicant in certain cases. However, the local Certificate has no legal backing and, as envisaged from its title, its local arrangement is issued by Deputy Commissioner based on certain committees amended from time to time. The local Certificate refers to the permanent residence of any individual in Balochistan. Hence the Cancellation of “Domicile” by the Deputy Commissioner means the cancellation of citizenship of any individual, which means the individual seizes to have basic fundamental rights and even the right to live in Pakistan. Balochistan High Court directs in its judgement of CP No 994/2015 to have proper legislation for issuance of a ” Permanent Residence Certificate” to adequately safeguard the rights of people of the province against different opportunities of their reserve quota. Permanent residence means only the person who is permanently living in a certain district is legible for the quota so that he/she will be uplifted, not those locals of Balochistan who have been living permanently in other cities of Pakistan for decades, but their kids are availing the quota. So once a DMG Deputy Commissioner issued a local certificate for all his relatives decades ago, it has been used to exploit the Balochistan quota for generations. The legislative assembly of Balochistan can only resolve the issue by coming up with a law on the pattern of the Indian constitution to cover the indigenous tribes as scheduled tribes.

As first-ever digital Census is happening in Pakistan, and NADRA has the best digital database in the country. The province of Balochistan Can easily connect its local certificate system with proper legal backing with NADRA and the Statistics department to solve this issue once and for all. In the second stage, all those doing jobs in the federal government on Balochistan Quota be shifted to their own provinces’ quota and Balochistan be compensated by deducting the vacant posts from the quota of those provinces – This will result in the provision of more than thirty thousand jobs to the people of Balochistan. It is compulsory for the rights of the Balochistan people. Thirty thousand jobs are a significant number. It can accommodate thirty thousand families. Furthermore, the educated and skilled youth of Balochistan shall be empowered in national affairs. Lastly, a federation always remains functional with equitable resource distribution and solid implementation of the constitutional protections.

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