Relapsing Into Hopelessness?

Balochistan's troubles increase with Covid-19 lockdown

By Hidayatullah Achakzai

Lockdowns have been enforced across the world in an effort to restrict the spread of Coronavirus, as part of social distancing measures. However, in parts of Balochistan, the lockdown seems to be having the opposite of its intended effect.

Balochistan, Pakistan’s troubled province with the most land area and the least population, is also the country’s most backward in terms of GDP and infrastructure.

Food scarcity, already a serious concern in the remote and rugged province, has been further aggravated by the Covid19 lockdown. At the Lala Jan Drug Rehab in Chaman, 300 patients have been all but abandoned by the authorities. Even civilians, voluntarily helping the needy on their own, are oblivious to the plight of these recovering addicts.

The rehab in-charge, Lala Jan, while speaking to said that his own business had been affected by the lockdown. “I have to take care of around 300 men here, but neither the society’s affluent nor the elected officials, have done anything to help.”

Patients hoping to resume their lives after recovery as healthy and productive members of society are understandably anxious about their present and future survival. They have made an appeal to the Balochistan government, as well as individuals with means and welfare organizations, to help keep the center running.

Mohd. Adil from Haripur, undergoing treatment at the rehab for 3 months, but now loitering outside the decrepit center, said that a single individual cannot do much if there is no support from the society.

The local administration refused to offer any comment when inquired by about their responsibility or lack thereof towards the rehab center and its patients.