Balochis­tan needs to har­ness its own re­sources

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -


new govern­ment pre­sented its first budget for the next fis­cal year fo­cus­ing par­tic­u­larly on in­vest­ment, in­fra­struc­ture, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, wa­ter and en­ergy and se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion. An­other piv­otal fea­ture of the doc­u­ment is the cre­ation of over three thou­sand jobs in the govern­ment de­part­ments for the youth. In view of its back­ward­ness, we wel­come the mea­sures an­nounced in the budget, hop­ing that these will at least ad­dress some of the ba­sic prob­lems faced by the Prov­ince.

Nev­er­the­less, the im­por­tant and sur­pris­ing fac­tor of the budget is that out of the to­tal out­lay of Rs 289 bil­lion ru­pees, the Prov­ince will only con­trib­ute Rs 9 bil­lion while the re­main­ing en­tire amount will be pro­vided by the Fed­eral govern­ment. This re­buts the crit­i­cism of the Se­na­tors and MNAs be­long­ing to the Prov­ince who miss no op­por­tu­nity both within and out­side the Par­lia­ment, crit­i­ciz­ing the Fed­er­a­tion for ‘met­ing out step-moth­erly at­ti­tude’ to­wards Balochis­tan. Un­doubt­edly, the Prov­ince is rich in nat­u­ral and min­eral re­sources and it can en­hance its rev­enues multi-fold pro­vided ef­forts are geared up to­wards the ex­ploita­tion of those pre­cious re­sources, which so far have not been put in use due to se­cu­rity rea­sons as well as other im­ped­i­ments. One of the main rea­sons that the Prov­ince is lag­ging be­hind in de­vel­op­ment is the men­ace of cor­rup­tion that is per­me­at­ing in dif­fer­ent de­part­ments there. Re­cov­ery of a trea­sure of lo­cal and for­eign cur­rency and a size­able quan­tity of gold from the res­i­dence of Pro­vin­cial Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Mush­taq Raisani is enough a proof to sub­stan­ti­ate our ob­ser­va­tion. Any­way be­ing the linch­pin of CPEC project, Balochis­tan will get the most from this mega project, which will in­deed open up new av­enues of op­por­tu­ni­ties and gen­er­ate im­mense eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties in the so far back­ward Prov­ince. No doubt, im­ple­men­ta­tion of CPEC and full op­er­a­tional­iza­tion of Gwadar Port will give a quan­tum jump to the rev­enues of Balochis­tan, yet we be­lieve that both Fed­eral and Pro­vin­cial Govts will have to give a se­ri­ous thought to ex­ploit Balochis­tan’s so far undis­cov­ered re­sources in­clud­ing gold, cop­per, gas and oil. Do­ing so will change des­tiny not only of en­tire Prov­ince but the whole coun­try.

AN ob­server once said that if you dig deep into Mid­dle East pol­i­tics, you will find oil. He prob­a­bly meant it as a pun, but it is true that much that has hap­pened in the Mid­dle East in re­cent times is, in one way or the other, re­lated to oil pol­i­tics. The lead­ing West­ern coun­tries (USA, Bri­tain and France) sought to dom­i­nate the Mid­dle East po­lit­i­cally, since early in the 20th cen­tury, with a view to ex­ploit its im­mense oil re­sources. Bri­tain dom­i­nated Iran to con­trol its oil till the 1950s. When the na­tion­al­ist govern­ment of Dr. Mosad­degh sought to na­tion­alise the oil in­dus­try, he was over­thrown in a CIA/ Bri­tish in­tel­li­gence coup in 1953. The Shah of Iran there­after worked hand-in-hand with the USA and re­ceived full Amer­i­can back­ing till the Is­lamic Revo­lu­tion in 1979. In the case of Saudi Ara­bia and the Per­sian Gulf coun­tries, oil was the main pivot on which the US and Europe de­vel­oped their re­la­tions. The US sup­port for Is­rael has also been, in part, re­lated to safe­guard­ing its oil in­ter­ests in the Mid­dle East.

Oil was first dis­cov­ered in USA in 1859. The first find in the Mid­dle East was in 1908 at Mas­jed Soleiman in Iran. The eco­nomic uses of oil be­came ap­par­ent with the growth of the au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try, but its mil­i­tary uses came to the fore in the First World War. Ever since, oil is re­garded as a cru­cial re­source


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