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Can you name a few cities of Baluchistan?

March 4, 2011

Can you name a few cities of Baluchistan? That was the question that the reporter of BBC Urdu asked the people in Punjab. I’d be lying if I say that the public’s ignorant responses didn’t amaze me. Every person who has studied till 8th standard should name at least two cities, i.e. the provincial capital Quetta and Ziarat – where Jinnah used to stay because the pleasant climate would be favorable for his ailment.

The other names one should remember are Gwadar because of deep sea port, Sibi for its extreme hot climate during summers and Chaman being the border town and how can one forget Chaghi, where nuclear test were conducted in 1998. Sui, (basically a sub-district of Dera Bugti) the home of our largest natural gas reserves. Khuzdar, Turbat and Pasni – I don’t know why are in my mind but I assure you that the Pak Studies books I studied in school and college used to have those names.

So how come, the people couldn’t name any of those cities? The idiotic response of the young girls pissed me off because they look like school/college going and if they can’t answer such a basic question of geography than what good is their attending school. One of the girl claimed that she wasn’t interested in history. ‘You think Baluchistan is history’, the reporter asked. ‘Yes’, the girl replied nonchalantly. Irony!

So what can we deduce from this report:

1) The dismal education/teaching system.

2) Mainstream media’s apathy towards Baluchistan’s real issues. I’ve been saying that since some time that I don’t see any substantial coverage of Baluchistan in the Pakistan’s electronic media.

3) Public’s general disinterest or inability to explore and dig out information. That’s why it is rather easier to mislead them in the name of anything.

Check out the video report here.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2011 8:28 pm

    Do you know how many education ‘systems’ are there in Pakistan?

    One type is madrassa that is further divided into 72 sections (one for each sect), then there is an American school, British School, Australian school and ofcourse the ‘normal’ Pakistani school. Then there is O levels and metric system, then there is English medium and Urdu medium. Then there is a federal and provincial school.

    Overall there are close to 100 types of education provided to the 37% (who actually go to school).

    So, keeping that in mind, I am not surprised what you just pointed out

    • March 4, 2011 8:41 pm

      Irrespective of education system (seminaries excluded) the school syllabus includes a course what is known as Pak Studies which discusses the salient features of all the four provinces of Pakistan.

      Forget the text books, Pakistan isn’t a vast country with 50 or so states/provinces.

      I expect majority of literate people to know the names of provincial capital cities of Pakistan. They are just frick’in 4 in number.

  2. March 4, 2011 8:51 pm

    The present Pakistani syllabus (even Islamiat) was prepared in the University of Nebraska during the cold war era (1970’s), since then the ‘leaders’ of the nation hasn’t taken the liberty to atleast review it.

    A lot has changed since 1970, we have found a lot of new resources, both in Sindh and Baluchistan (Reko Dik), Baluchistan has by far the largest Marble industry of Pakistan. You mentioned all the Baloch cities, there is SUI, which provides gas to all of Pakistan. When I was younger in Saudia, I used to refer to natural gas as SUI gas. I don’t think our syllabus contains that.

    The government and the elite should put reasonable consideration into revamping the syllabus so that a Pakistani is well educated about the surroundings and is upto pace with this ever changing world

    • March 4, 2011 8:58 pm

      SUI was just on top of my mind but it slipped during the course of typing a blog. I should add it. How can anyone not know about Sui and the gas reserves. Natural gas is still called ‘Sui Gas’ at least in my city.

      Our syllabus definitely talked about Sui and the natural gas besides I still remember the text books would mention that Baluchistan is the largest province in terms of area and is rich with natural resources.

      Your statement about preparation of Pakistani syllabus in UoN during cold war is interesting. It’ll be great if you share the source of this info.

  3. March 4, 2011 9:48 pm

    The USAID paid $5.1 million to the University of Nebraska between 1984-1994, to develop and design textbooks that promote Jihad.

  4. March 5, 2011 10:27 am

    My contributions, Aab-e-Gum, where my grandfather was posted, Harnai, where my father was born, and Mastung, where my mother was born!

    • March 9, 2011 2:47 pm

      I found Aab-e-Gum (the book) online in pdf format. Interested?

  5. March 6, 2011 9:09 pm

    I’m so ashamed – I, too, knew only those two main cities (Ziarat and Quetta) until I read your post! Thank you! And, although I’ve been living in the U.S. for over a decade now, I have no excuse for not knowing that much about a major section of the country I was born in.

  6. Takhalus permalink
    March 7, 2011 12:27 am

    Actually that one ladies comments on Balochistan being history is increasingly true

    I suspect knowledge off FATA will be even worse

    • March 9, 2011 2:47 pm

      Before anyone else, I’d admit that I know very little about the geography of FATA. I can’t tell accurately the names of all agencies. From the text books all I remember is that ‘qabailee brothers fought in 1948 war’. That is all.

  7. Raheel permalink
    March 9, 2011 12:34 am


  8. March 9, 2011 2:00 am

    Islamiyat and Pakistan Studies is not taken as a serious subject, students just do it for sake of passing exams. That could only be the rational justification behind such a horrible behaviour.

    We as a Pakistani, are not interested in Pakistan any more! We have been told by the media, by the surroundings, by the internet that there is nothing good about our country, so is there a point of learning anything about it? Would that get you an international scholarship? A job in a multinational firm? We have lost our priorities.

    • March 9, 2011 2:44 pm

      I agree. And I’m not boasting but I would get the best marks in Islamiyat. I thought it was as interesting as Science. Pak Studies used to trouble me due to pre-partition history that we were expected to cram.

  9. Hasan permalink
    March 9, 2011 3:26 pm

    To learn geography one has to be taught maps(fundamentally). If you care to open the Pakistan Studies textbook for the 10th class you shall come to know that it contains not a single map which can be studied by a sane person. Our education system is not giving us tools to learn, it is giving us the tools to listen and obey. Add to this a general disregard for the country we live in and the laziness with which we say ” We can’t fix it” as if expecting a miraculous change in the country’s affairs you can get to the real cause of our ignorance.

  10. April 13, 2011 11:06 pm

    well… Balochistan has always been neglected cause of media which reflected the narrow image of the province. Also the tribal system in Balochistan couldn’t lead it to move ahead and appear as a promising and flourished one…

  11. December 28, 2011 9:38 am

    good to learn from here as i never study pakistan studies with much interest even in my bachlors

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