Mineral rich Baluchistan is the least developed of Pakistan’s provinces with limited economic opportunities, lagging social indicators and large gender gaps in education, health and employment. It is also plagued by tribal and sectarian conflict which has been exacerbated by a nationalist insurgency and the War on Terror in Afghanistan. Baluchistan’s youth struggle for basic amenities, employment opportunities and access to urban centres.
Abdul Rehman is a young man from Lorali in Balochistan with a Masters degree in Geography from University of Baluchistan. Despite his qualifications he was unable to find employment and so he decided to start his own business using his knowledge of Baluchistan’s natural terrain and that the land is blessed with a unique variety of gems and stones.
While exploring start-up options, he met with SMEDA officials who helped him develop a business plan. Using a small amount of capital he began supplying marble and stones like red oxide and leather stone to markets.
“Pakistan possesses huge marble reserves. Promoting and developing this industry could bring prosperity to the country. The industry is suffering, however, from load-shedding, low voltage, law and order issues and outdated quarrying techniques — so there is much that can be done to grow this industry both locally and into international markets,” says Abdul Rehman.