The general perception in both print and electronic media regarding Balochistan revolves around following issues to highlight the main reason behind resentment of certain elements among the people of Balochistan.
Looting of Baloch Mineral Wealth.
Baluchistan has been bestowed with huge mineral resources and Pakistan has been extracting large quantities of gas, coal and copper-gold from Balochistan. However, massive corruption, mismanagement and abuse of Baloch natural wealth have resulted in current poor socio economic condition of the province.
Depriving Baluchistan of its Due Share of Revenue.
Baluchistan has been deprived of its due share of revenue for last six decades. This has been done deliberately by reducing the wellhead of price of gas and oil. When Baloch nationalist raise the royalty issue they are termed as Traitors.
Facts and Myths about Economical Potential of Baluchistan General Perceptions.
It is common to watch, listen and read that Pakistan has been bestowed with huge deposits of mineral resources and much of this mineral wealth lies in Baluchistan. Such reports are substantiated through articles and columns in all leading newspapers and internet sources.Such reports which at best can be termed as equivocation tend to develop a perception that Pakistan is looting Baloch mineral wealth without giving anything to the province. A comparative account of Pakistan’s mineral wealth proves such perceptions to be false and concocted. The total Gross Value cost of all minerals in Pakistan comes to Rs 220 Billion PKR out of which Punjab produces about 18 percent, Sindh 57 percent, KPK 4 percent and Balochistan 21 percent.
Thus Baluchistan’s contribution in terms of mineral wealth is less than one quarter and its total contribution to Pakistan’s GDP is mere 3 percent. Perceptions created on account of various minerals in Baluchistan are detailed below:-
Baluchistan is rich in oil resources but that Oil has not been explored because of security situation. External powers including US eye on this oil. Since Baluchistan is close to Iran which has lot of Oil so it is natural for Baluchistan to have Oil.
Pakistan has less than 1 percent of world Oil reserves including proven, estimated and possible reserves. Out of total Oil reserves in Pakistan Baluchistan has less than0.1percent of Oil.Sindh produces about 56 percent of Oil, Punjab around 32 percent and KPK around 12 percent.Oil exploration in Baluchistan started in 1885. The apparent rock surface in Baluchistan attracts oil companies with the prospects of oil and that’s the reason oil exploration in Balochistan had continued for last hundred years by oil exploration companies from US, UK, Hungary, Poland and even Malaysia. The only major discovery was made in 1952 when natural gas field was discovered in Sui. No major oil well has been found in Baluchistan since than. The recent decline in oil exploration is attributed to two main factors, i.e lack of success and huge cost of exploration.
Baluchistan is providing natural gas to most of Pakistan and has huge natural gas reserves.
Reality. Out of total natural gas reserves in Pakistan, Baluchistan produces less than 23 percent of gas whereas Sindh produces about 71 percent of total natural gas. The total natural gas reserves in Pakistan do not make even 1 percent of world natural gas reserves.
Baluchistan is rich in Coal and has millions of tones of coal which is available at various places in the province. Chamalong, Ziarat, Musakheletcposses’ huge coal deposits.
Reality. Baluchistasn has less than 1 percent of coal in Pakistan, even Punjab has more coal reserves than Baluchistan.Sindh has the largest share with around 184 Billion tones of coal as compared to Baluchistan 217 million tones. The entire coal in Pakistan makes less than 1 percent of world coal reserves.
Copper and Gold
Electronic and print media are continuously propagating regarding Balochistan’s copper reserves at RekoDiq in the Chagai as one of the world’s largest copper deposits (and its matrix-associated residual gold). The wikipedia article on economy of Baluchistan states “The deposits at RekoDiq are hoped to be even bigger than those of Sarcheshmeh in Iran and Escondida in Chile (presently, the second and the third largest proven deposits of copper in the world
Pakistan has more than one billion tones of copper reserves mostly in RekDeq and Saindak area of Baluchistan but that makes less than 0.5 percent of world copper reserves. In terms of gold, Pakistan does not figure out any way near the first eighty nations having gold reserves. However the copper reserves if fully utilized would help to improve economy of Baluchistan.
Analysis of Baluchistan’s Mineral Wealth
An incisive analysis of Baluchistan’s mineral wealth helps us in drawing following conclusions:-
Mythical and erroneous propagation of Baloch mineral wealth leads to feelings of deprivation amongst Baloch masses who feel being robed of their resources. In actuality, it is other provinces which are providing economic support to Baluchistan.This is similar to erstwhile propaganda in East Pakistan where it was termed that Islamabad smells of Bengal’s Jute.
Role of External Powers
Though it may be true to say that external powers are interested in Baluchistan owing to a host of other factors but to say that Baluchistan has such wealth of mineral and natural resources which would interest foreign powers to invoke an intervention for their economic gains is a far fetched thought.
There is a need to improve public perceptions about mineral wealth in Baluchistan and how much the province contributes and receives from National exchequer. A wider understanding of true potential of Baloch mineral wealth would ease in comforting Baloch Nationals by making them understand ground realities which can remove feelings of deprivation amongst them.