Thursday, October 26, 2017

Centre urged to give Balochistan its share in gas income

https://www.dawn.com/news/1366304

Saleem ShahidUpdated October 26, 2017

QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution demanding the federal government ensure that Article 172 (3) of the Constitution was implemented in letter and spirit in order for the province to get its share in the income of oil and gas production.

The resolution was moved by the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s MPA and Education Minister, Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal, on Tuesday evening. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ziaratwal said that as per the 18th Amendment, provinces were to be given their share from the income from oil and gas production, but so far the federal government had not done so in the case of Balochistan. He added that this was causing anxiety and giving rise to sense of deprivation in the province.

“In the 18th Constitution Amend­ment it was decided that the provinces would get a 50 per cent share of the oil and gas produced,” he said, adding that the gas field discovered in the Zarghoon area of Harnai was producing gas but Balochistan had not received any income from it so far.

According to Mr Ziaratwal, this was happening because Islamabad had not implemented another agreement signed with the Pakistan Petroleum Limited and the Oil and Gas Development Company.

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He said that the provincial assembly had passed several resolutions but the federal government was not paying any heed. He added that a committee headed by the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, had been set up to take up the issue of the resolution adopted by the Balochistan Assembly.

Discussing the 18th Amendment, MPA Yasmeen Lehri said that the amendment was adopted after hectic efforts made by politicians for a transparent distribution of resources but Islamabad was not implementing it.

“Instead of implementing the 18th Amendment, efforts are under way to roll it back,” she said.

“All such attempts will be foiled. Islamabad should help Balochistan’s developing capacity and use the funds to erase the impression that Balochistan was not able to utilise development funds properly,” she added.

The provincial assembly’s Public Acc­ounts Committee’s chairman Majeed Ach­ak­zai claimed that many oil and gas comp­anies were working in Balochistan but an outstanding figure of Rs25 billion pending against them had not been paid as yet.

He said that despite the passage of the 18th Amendment, the agreement for leasing out the Saindak project to China was signed by the federal government, instead of the Balochistan government.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2017

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