BY ZAKIR QADIR SHAMS
The Baloch Hal Staff Writer
Balochistan’s geographical sketch has been precisely inscribed by A. W. Hughes, the author of The Country of Balochistan, who said the country of the Baloch tribe has for its northern and north-eastern boundary a large portion of the kingdom of Afghanistan; its eastern frontiers being limited by the British province of Sindh, and its western by the Persian State, while the Arabian Sea washes its southern base for a distance of nearly six hundred miles.
This portion of, 80,000 square miles comprises of valuable mineral resources such as oil, gas, coal, iron-ore, gold, silver, copper, sulphur, gypsum, uranium, Magnetite, Chromite, Barite, Fluorite, Dolomite which are explored in great quantities. (Dr. Shah Mahammad Mari “Baloch Quom”).
Coal (1 million 40 thousand tons) Chromite (found in large quantities), Barite (more than 20 lakh tons), Copper (more than 15 thousand tons) Iron-ore (60 thousand tons), Magnetite (7 thousand 30 thousand tons) Marble, Aragonite (more than 9 million tons), Laterite (more than 1 million 90 thousand tons), Natural Gas (6 million 55 thousand tons), Sulpher (7 million 78 thousand tons), and some others in large stocks in the Baloch land are; stone, sandstone, etc. These wholly fabricate Balochistan rich in natural resource.
A region having such a large sum of natural resources if it is still considered economically weak, then is not that a wrong verdict? And the homeowners endure indigence, is that reasonable? They possess all these minerals, so if they were let to refine and fully utilize them in their own abode, would they remain the same as they are today?
The Baloch have never been given their veritable rights. Their natural resources are being looted and drifted to others and they have been left deprived. In the official documents it is stated that Balochistan is comparatively backward and economic development is needed to deal with significant structural problems, both political and socio-economical.
They conceive the natural wealth, the Fisheries and the Agricultural productions are not adequate to build this region’s economy.
The Sui gas which was found in 1952 in Balochistan is being supplied to every city and region of Pakistan and is aptly named the backbone of the country’s economy but the Baloch are deprived from it.
In Sandak each year approximately 14 thousand 304 tons of copper, 1.47 tons of gold and 2.76 tons of silver is dug out and the income of that is 55 million dollars.
From the district of Chagi only, 48 thousand 591 tons of marbles are drifted to Karachi every year.
The income of Fisheries, only in district of Gawadar, is 280 millions from 83500 metric tons of fish per year.
Coal was found more than 100 years ago in Balochistan and every year more than 15 thousand tons of coal is dug out from the coalmines there.
What do the Balochs obtain out of all this wealth?
Baluchistan, they say, comprises 44% of the total area of Pakistan and has just 5 per cent of the total population, but the tragic point is that among all of these chief and valuable resources, the people in this area do not possess the basic needs of life. They are indigent. They have no clean drinking water, or healthy food, or educational institutes, or health centers or electricity.
Is the natural wealth of Balochistan unable to develop it economically? Can’t this wealth airlift the Baloch from the poverty line?
There is a possibility.
From the upper divulged mineral resources, hold the biggest coastal belt aloof, if only the income from the natural Gas, the Baloch nation would be given the true right, and that should be invested on the buildup and the progression of this region, it would be booming today and the Baloch would be well-housed in richly endowed Balochistan.
Let alone the other mineral resources, if the Baloch nation was given the right to only invest the income of the natural gas for the development and progression of this region, we would have been well-housed living today in a richly endowed Balochistan.