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Balochistan Assembly forms committee over award of exploration blocks



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QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly on Friday set up a special technical committee to find out details of petroleum exploration blocks awarded to state-run oil and gas companies without taking the province into confidence.

Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) lawmaker Sana Baloch, while speaking on a call-attention notice in the provincial assembly on Friday, pointed out that the federal government had allocated six blocks to the companies for exploration of mineral resources in the provinces, including Balochistan, without taking the provinces into confidence, which was a violation of the Constitution.

He said three big companies were given licences for exploration of oil and gas in Balochistan, adding that these companies would spend billions of rupees on exploration work while the province would get only $30,000 out of the huge investment.

Slams Centre for not taking province into confidence while giving licences to firms

Sana Baloch informed the house that one of the companies would invest $24 billion in Balochistan, but the provincial government was not consulted before issuing the exploration licences. He claimed that oil and gas reserves had already been discovered in Kohlu and Kalat but nobody was allowed to visit these areas.

He said the provincial government should ask the federal government to provide details of the agreements signed with the companies which would work in Balochistan.

BNP-M lawmaker said the Balochistan government should also issue a clarification in this regard and form a technical committee comprising members of the parties having representation in the house.

Minister for Education Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind, while taking part in the debate, said oil and gas reserves were also discovered in Mach, but no representative of the area was taken into confidence in this regard. He said one member of every party should be included in the committee.

Former chief minister and ruling Balochistan Awami Party MPA Mir Jan Mohammad Khan Jamali said it was a constitutional issue and the Constitution ensured “our rights and nobody could deprive us of these rights”. He also supported the setting up of the technical committee to look into the matter.

Nasarullah Zerey of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party said the provincial government was not asked about anything as the decisions were taken by bureaucrats. A committee should be constituted on this issue.

Speaker Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo endorsed that a technical committee should be formed to take up this important issue with the federal government.

Consequently, Sana Baloch moved a motion for formation of a special committee to ensure implementation of Article 172 (3) of the Constitution. The motion was passed and the speaker set up the committee.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2021


https://www.dawn.com/news/1621309

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