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Balochistan: Pakistan’s precious gem

 Zalan Khan Yousafzai

Pakistan despite being teemed with natural as well as unnatural resources imports a range of products. These products can easily be produced locally. But for this, rock solid will of the relevant stakeholders is required which unfortunately cannot be observed.

According Economic Complexity Index (ECI) as of 2017 Pakistan was importing refined petroleum for $7.04B, Crude Petroleum for $2.88B and petroleum gas for $1.84B. All these figures show how much we have been spending on importing petroleum products while having large sums of them in our pocket.

Pakistan is blessed to have many natural resources, always soliciting to be cashed. Most of these are lying beneath Balochistan basin, amongst these resources petroleum and natural minerals are dominant ones. Being Pakistan’s largest province by area it has a lot of service to offer but ironically due to poor management, infrastructure, political instability, ongoing insurgencies and foreign proxies this gem has lost its shine.

Not to mention what we have, serves as one of the major reasons for the intrepid escapade of western powers in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Now keeping that in mind it’s of the essence to know what we have in our hands but just knowing the fact won’t bring any fortune. These resources needs to be exploited for benefit but unfortunately so far no vigorous progress has been made.

The untapped resources of Balochistan can be utilized to the best extent possible but this requires sheer commitment and will. Plethora of resources in the province can help in transforming Pakistan’s economy. 

In year 1994 and 1995 Balochistan provided 355 Billion Cubic feet (BCF) of natural gas which accounted for about 56% of total domestic production but unfortunately the next decade saw drastic decrease in production rate with production of 336 BCF, making 26% of the domestic yield. Now, why such a sharp decline? Was that all in it? No, there is more to it, a lot of it in fact. The fall was not consequent to exhaustion of reserves but was rather due to negligence to explore, research and expansion.

According to Balochistan Economic Report promulgated in 2008, there are 620 know petroleum wells out of which only 55 has been drilled. Petroleum is not the only cash beneath the ground, Balochistan has a lot of mineral resources as well which are waiting to be liquidated. Amongst these deposits are copper 4.5 billion tons, iron 273 million tons and coal 262 million tons.

The land of Balochistan ranges from frosty mountains to deserts and breezy coasts with crystal clear water, to put it simply tourism is yet another untapped side of the province. With recent improvements in situation of law and order people have started to notice these scenic spots but still large efforts are required to make it surface completely on national and international level. The Hingol National Park spread across area of 6100 sq wraps stunning muddy peaks and serves as a home to diverse wildlife while the Makran coastal highway gives breathtaking drive of 653 Km.

Now being showered with such fortune why we still can’t clinch it, well most of the reasons are oblivious but one thing that is generally skimmed is the locals have to accept the change, the ethnicity of Balochistan and KP has been known to resistant to any foreign orientation, they need to let people in. The old tribal norms and chieftains have somehow restrained people to rise and interact, which is needed to be changed and not to mention change is the essence of life.

Amidst all of this what can be the role of government, aside from having different institutions and organizations at both provincial and federal. There are platforms but the will to do is the core of any substantial result. Same is the case here. Absence of will and sincerity has been replaced by selfish desire and plagued with corruption.

Putting efforts in the right direction, showing sheer will and commitment, Balochistan can be turned into prosperous high living standard region which gives us the reach to all the hidden treasures of Balochistan but ultimately it’s the benefit of Pakistan.

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