Youth is defined as the person between the age of 15 and 24. Youth comprises 64% of the total population. In order to run the affairs of youth, Youth Affairs Department Balochistan was established in July, 2007. Youth Development Centre, Quetta is working as subordinate office of Administrative Youth Affairs Department. The subject of Youth affairs was devolved to the province on 02-12-2010 after 18thconstitutional amendment thereby increasing the responsibilities of provincial Youth Affairs Department. Policy plays a pivotal role for streamlining the affairs of any institute or Department, but no Youth Policy for the Balochistan has so far been framed despite lapse of considerable period of time. It is not known as to why this important matter has been neglected. Youth Affairs Department invited proposals for framing the Youth police. Three organizations viz., Bargad, Punjab, Change Through Empowerment, Balochisan National Party, Balochistan and Balochistan Darts Association led by Haji Muhammad Ibrahim Khan Noorzai submitted proposals for framing Provincial Youth Policy for Balochistan during the period when Doctor Abdul Malik Baloch served as the Chief Minister of the province3. Doctor Kaiser Bengali, Head of Chief Minister’s Policy Reform Unit, Doctor Ishaq Baloch, former Coordinator to Chief Minister Balochistan and Doctor Shama Ishaq, MPA of National Party also took great interest to frame Balochistan Youth Policy, but it is not known as to why further action is not being taken to give the youth of Balochistan a gift in the shape of “Youth Policy”. Aims and objects of Youth Affairs Department is to promote youth activities in the province, to coordinate with other sister provinces in organizing youth activities, to assist and build the youth of the province for competing in national or international level, to organize conferences, workshops and seminars for the capacity building of youths of the province, to cater Intern-ship opportunity to the unemployed youth of the province. Under International Youth Exchange Programme, many youth delegation have been sent by the Government of Balochisan, Sports and Youth Affairs Department to the foreign countries since 2007. Exchange of Youth delegation to the foreign countries (China, Korea, Turkey, Jordan) is one of the achievements of Youth Affairs Department, Government of Balochistan while under National Youth exchange Programme, youth of the province are given the opportunity to visit all the sister provinces which is beneficial for creating a sense of brotherhood and solidarity, but all the above activities will remain futile until and unless the “Agenda of Youth Development” is not placed at priority. Besides framing “Balochistan Youth Policy”, it is a challenge in front of provincial government led by Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, Chief Minister Balochistan to utilize the services of youth in various national building as well as in any natural or anthropogenic calamities, youth corps of volunteers may be established at Provincial and District Leval, various Youth Festivals / events may be observed and notified, chalk out a comprehensive Youth Skill Development Programme for both male and female and frequent visits of youth at National level be planned to enhance and strengthen the harmony among the country’s youth.
By Rasheed Ahmed
Karez irrigation is the oldest and stable communal irrigation system practiced in at least 22 countries from China to Chile and is called by 20 different names. Its origin is not known. The consensus of opinion is that karez originated in Iran about 3,000 years ago. In all probability karez came into North Balochistan from Afghanistan and into South Balochistan from Iran and the system is therefore only confined to the province of Balochistan. Karezes are constructed as a series of well-like vertical shafts, connected by sloping tunnels, which tap into subterranean water in a manner that efficiently delivers large quantities of water to the surface by gravity, without need for pumping. The first well where the water is tapped for a karez is called the mother well, and there is a zone of roughly 1,200 feet in diameter where it is forbidden to dig new wells or otherwise threaten the quality and quantity of the ground water. The vertical shafts along the underground channel are purely for maintenance purpose, and water is used only once it emerges from the daylight point. Karazes are of various types viz., (i) Alluvial fan or piedmont karez (ii) Infiltration gallery karez (iii) Rain-fed karez (iv) Spring karez. Most of the karezes of Balochistan are alluvial fan type. Karezes are owned and maintained by the community who buy shares in it or “Shabanas”, 24-hour cycles. A karez, depending upon its size, may have anyhwhere from 18 to 32 shabanas distributed between its shareholders, with individual claims ranging from the right to a few minutes to a week of water. A shareholder, or shareeq, is entitled to the standing of a country gentleman in the community and may sit in a jirga and weigh in on collective decisions. In this way the system of water access, distribution and use is closely linked to social structures and community identity. Although a karez system is expensive to construct, its long-term value to the community, and thereby to the group that invested in building and maintaining it, is substantial. Balochistan is an arid region characterized by low rainfall and subsequently low recharge to the groundwater aquifers. In the last couple of decades the groundwater has been pumped excessively through electric and diesel driven tube wells which have mushroomed throughout the province, mining this scarce water resource to exhaustion. As a result due to lowering of groundwater resource most of the karezes have gone dry. The main beneficiaries of the replacement of karezes with electric tube wells in Balochistan have been the large farmers and the biggest losers being the small farmers. For the past 30 years, Pakistani Government and other donors have been promoting electric and diesel tube wells in an effort to modernize the agriculture sector. Today, though the system is under threat, there are approximately 1053 functioning karezes in Balochistan having more than 22,000 Ips discharge, irrigating 27,000 ha in 2012. Another 270 karez are not functioning but could be restored to use. They are located in the northwest corner of Balochistan bordering with Afghanistan and Iran. A group of four representative karezes include (a) Spin Tangi Kareze, District Quetta (2) Chashma Achozai Kareze, District Quetta, Ulasi Kareze, District Pishin and Kandeel Kareze, Muslim Bagh, District Killa Saifullah.
In order to restore this fast depleting source of communal irrigation system, it is the need of the hour to concentrate on the rehabilitation and preservation of this system. There is an urgent need to carryout detailed survey on the number of the functional and non functional karezes and ways and means may be explored to rejuvenate / rehabilitate this system.