ISSN 2330-717X

Overcoming Pakistan’s Energy Crisis: Exploration Of Natural Gas In Baluchistan To Improve National Security – Analysis

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Background

Today, Pakistan is suffering from a natural gas shortage crisis because of a lack of sustainable development in the energy sector for the last three decades, and in particular to hunt for gas in Baluchistan (further exploration). Pakistan’s fragile economy and insecurity conditions since the last decade and a lack of political leadership commitment have led the economy to constantly slow down – widening the energy catastrophe in the country in particular to the gas shortage crisis in Baluchistan.

Generally speaking, energy crisis management requires updated facts and figures and evidence based policy recommendations to calculate total state gas reserves and total energy demands in particular to natural gas. According to the “Pakistan Economy’s blog” website data, Pakistan’s recoverable reserves of natural gas have been estimated at 29.671 trillion cubic feet (January 1st 2009), 19.3 trillion in Baluchistan (2) – estimated in 1954. During July-March 2009 the production was 3986.5 million cubic feet per day (mcfd) with an increase of 0.52% within 6 months compared to 3965.9 mcfd during the 2008. (3)

In addition, according to the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan data from 2009, most of the gas is consumed in industries and commercial sectors compare to household and transportation consumption sectors. If the increase remains consistent annually – it is significant to increase more production through exploring more gas fields in the country in particular to the Baluchistan province.

Figure 1

NoConsumption of Gas (Billion cubic feet) 2009

Category CFT
1Household 172
2Industries / Commercial 694.4
3Transportation (CNG)65, 725 MCFT

Among the 15 natural gas fields, Sui is one of the biggest natural gas fields in Pakistan – located in Baluchistan with annual production of 800 billion cubic feet and daily production is 660 million cubic feet (4) – Sui is a backbone of the natural gas production in the country – however, left underfunded. There is no scientific data available – and no information regarding if there are more sister natural gas fields surrounding the Sui gas field?

Nevertheless, the maintenance and further exploration of natural gas is one of the key growing questions for the federal government as the growing insurgency and military operations in the Baluchistan province are direct barriers of limiting the production and exploration capacity of the federal and provincial governments. Currently, further exploration of natural gas is stagnant in Baluchistan because of numerous factors. Such as, lack of proper planning, lack of budget availability, fragile political interest, increasing insecurity and distrust in the region between the provincial and federal governments. 

Yet, these constraints are not the key challenges to overcome the energy crisis in the country – the problem lies within government concerned ministries to calculate the exact annual growing energy demand of the country and recommend strategic module of diverting the energy dependency as per the consumption sectors or as per the availability of sufficient energy resources. In addition, before exploring more energy resources in Baluchistan, it is significant to understand the geopolitical context of the province.  

Understanding of the Province Characteristics and likelihood of natural resources 

In many aspects Baluchistan province is unique from the other provinces of Pakistan. 

The Baluchistan province comprises over 40% of the total territory of the country (biggest province geographically) however it is the poorest province in terms of lowest literacy in the country. In addition, the Baluchistan province is the least integrated into the mainstream economy and contribute little to national agriculture and manufacturing despite being one of the richest provinces in terms of mines and minerals. (5)

It has to be acknowledged that the federal government has paid less attention to the province in terms of human development, 5% of the total population (estimated 9 to 10 million)(6) lives in the province – more easily manageable compare to the Panjab and Sindh provinces. However, the lower population density is very challenging in terms of provision of services. Despite the weak political alignment with the federal government – the Baluchistan province has significant grievances with the federal government with regard to resources sharing. These weak political alignments and resources sharing grievances in the province has resulted in it remaining as one of the least developed provinces in the country apart of having most of the country’s natural resources – more exploration of natural resources has not been taken into account by neither the federal (7) nor the provincial (8) governments.

The current insecurity and insurgency crisis are adding more fuel to the fire – the federal government requires significant policy amendments in form of economical, political, and social context to contribute to securing national interest and paving roads for human development of the local inhabitants of the province. 

With the current fragile economical, political and social context in addition to increasing physical insecurity in the province – it is very much significant to involve the state armed forces to contribute to exploration of more natural resources in particular to natural gas and help in boosting the development process in the province by providing security and technical assistance to all development actors and local inhabitants. This approach will assure securing national interests in the province (harmony, development and support to economy)

Study Purpose

This study seeks to determine the benefits of further exploration of natural gas in the Baluchistan province to achieve energy security at the national level through military involvement i) To provide physical security to natural gas exploration process, and ii) Contribute in provision of technical assistance in exploring natural gas. The findings of this study will inform on the future of military involvement in natural resources exploration and its pros and cons.  

Problem Area:

Within the current context of the Baluchistan province with political instability in addition to contemporary delicate economic status at the federal level – it is very challenging to call for more efforts – exploring further gas fields in Baluchistan province. In addition, there are no recent scientific geological surveys undertaken to help in estimating the capacity of the province in terms of natural gas reserves. 

Recently, there have been several anti-government elements involved in political and physical insecurity – State political and military leaderships are intensely countering the anti-state elements, utilizing huge resources – somehow abridged from other development budgets to provide a safe environment for further exploration of natural gas. On other hand, the federal government faces an annual budget deficit – limiting the services deliveries capacity in terms of development. In addition, the energy crisis remained a top issue, despite, insurgency, poverty and illiteracy. 

Within the current scenario – this paper calls for advocacy on aligning the efforts to argue on exploration of further natural gas fields in the Baluchistan province from gas consumers and a government perspective to somehow overcome the energy crisis (gas shortfall) for both domestic and industrial use. For more evidences and arguments – see below sections.

Literature Review 

Due to an inadequate timeline – the literature review was limited to key documents. However, the researcher was inspired by the arguments, ideas and recommendations from the authors of the secondary sources of information – there might be some similarities in terms of ideas and arguments but, it does not mean that the researcher did not value the research norms.

Baluchistan Millennium Development Goals report of UNDP 2011, Pakistan national demographic survey – 2009, Pakistan-economy blog and ministry of petroleum data were the main sources of information. 

Baluchistan Millennium Development Report 2011, the World Bank/NORAD “Oil and Gas Revenues in Pakistan” (9) were the key source for development data regarding, literacy, poverty, child and mothers’ mortality, birth rates and natural gas data. 

Meanwhile, the primary data was collected through five in-depth interviews in Islamabad cto understand the common people and gas consumers’ perspectives. See findings below.

Areas of Inquiry 

Central research question

What are the major factors that do not lead to explore more natural resources in Baluchistan?

Research sub-questions
1. What are the supply and demand side factors that prevent further natural gas exploration? 
2. What are the supply and demand side factors that prevent further natural gas exploration? 
3. What are the supply and demand side factors that prevent further natural gas exploration? 
4. What are the supply and demand side factors that prevent further natural gas exploration? 
5. What are the supply and demand side factors that prevent further natural gas exploration? 
6. What are the supply and demand side factors that prevent further natural gas exploration? 
Study Topics

Study topics will largely elaborate the exploration of more natural gas fields, involvement of military for technical and physical security to achieve national interests in terms of reducing energy crisis. 

1. Evaluation of current natural gas production and maintenance capacity of the provincial and federal government

2. Reduction in distrust & increasing cooperation in provincial, federal government and military 

3. Identification of policy clogs to pave roads for further development in energy management at the federal and provincial levels

4. Reduction of gas management failures and physical security threats 

5. Establishment of Gas Management Committee at national and sub-national level for conflict management and corruption control 

Research Methodology

Data Collection Methods

The researcher first focused on secondary data availability (Documentary analysis/Literature review). Documentary sources were included – Pakistan constitution, and all other relevant available polices and strategies of ministry of energy and petroleum, and other similar project proposals, etc. The documents were examined both as a resource, in the sense that the study is concerned with the content of the documents and the insights they yielded, and as a topic, in the sense that the study was concerned with the process through which they were produced, circulated, and used.

The researcher applied Semi-structured (one-on-one interviews) tool as a key data collection tool. Researcher proposed a prepared list of questions to targeted respondents that agreed to participate in the research study.  However, researcher followed up on study participants’ statements in order to gain more insight into their responses. It was necessary to interview both domestic and industrial gas consumers in order to obtain ‘information about underlying attitudes, interaction and intentions’ of each other’s separately and in more details. 

The researcher also focused on Observation technique during all interviews to find if the respondents are interested in discussing the natural gas issues. It was interested to know that all respondents prioritized gas shortage as one of the key national security challenge. The respondents also focused on demanding the government to take concrete actions to cope with gas shortages in Pakistan and suggested to explore more sites for increasing the overall production as per the demands for consumption.

Sampling: 

Research locations: The study took place in Islamabad (Bahria University Islamabad/E9) in order to save on research costs. The researcher used a non-probability (10) purposive sample of key respondents. For industrial gas consumer group the researcher used the coping sampling strategy (snow balling and availability sampling methods) as the study researcher is not from the industrial group and nor have satisfactory relationships.

The researcher assumed that little information may be obtained from some key respondents and some other practitioners. Therefore, the researcher designed a total of 5 interviews – see below. However, two more respondents were targeted to be interviewed if any of the following respondents did not appear in the interview.

  • 2 domestic gas consumers (Who – you must select)
  • 2 industrial gas consumers (Who-you select)
  • 1 energy management ministry staff (1 for each interview 2+2+1 = 5) 

Research ethics

Prior to beginning, the researcher first described the study in layman’s terms to all participants and confirmed that all statements made will be anonymous in the research report and also explained how the findings will be shared / used. In addition, the researcher assured study participants that they may refuse to answer questions or stop participating in the research at any time prior to all interviews conducted.

Limitations of the Study

This study is a part of an assignment undertaken at university as a course – overall timeline was very short (three weeks). In addition, budget and access to travel were the secondary key challenges – limiting the capacity of the researcher to produce quality paper. 

In addition, the number of the interviews is defiantly not generalizing to national level. Only five in depth interviews were conducted to understand the perception of the respondents. Despite, limited literature review – it was also challenging to find accurate and up to date facts and figures in terms of data related to current gas production, consumption and revenue.

Findings

Overall respondents of the study projected further exploration of natural gas in Baluchistan province in order to meet both domestic and industrial needs for natural gas. 80% of the respondents agreed that both federal and provincial governments should take concrete steps to initiate the process of exploring more gas fields in Baluchistan province in order to overcome the energy crisis in particular to natural gas. See figure 1 below

Figure 1:

Figure two illustrates that all the respondents of the study considered gas use for industrial proposes – more effective, as it is cost effective and manageable with less admin and operation cost. In addition, the respondents mentioned that natural gas should not be used for transportation and should only be utilized only for domestic and industrial uses. This will help reduce the prices of industrial products and consumers will have enough gas supply for domestic uses. 

Figure 2:

The respondents mentioned that transportation sector should be relocated back to petroleum to reduce pressures on gas demands on national levels. Respondents also, suggested having strategic balance in terms of energy uses. Pakistan, within current capacity cannot be dependent on one source of energy – gas, petroleum and electricity.  

In figure 3, the graph shows the possibilities of the contribution of armed forces in exploring and managing further gas fields to assist federal and provincial governments.  90% of the respondents mentioned that armed forces can provide security to gas fields and gas pipelines within current fragile security situation in Baluchistan province. Moreover, armed forces could provide technical and resources management support to federal and provincial governments to effectively manage gas exploration and management and would help in reducing the probabilities of corruption.

Conversely, it was not recommended by the respondents that how and where the armed forces could contribute to in exploring and managing more gas fields. As, it this approach requires applicable policy and strategic vision to make sure that how logical division of labor could be proposed between the federal & provincial governments and armed forces leadership. In addition, yet, it is not clear if these approaches are suitable and agreeable to Pakistan Armed Forces and what will be the pros and cons from diverting Pakistan Armed Forces from the defense motives to development motives. 

Figure 3:

The following figures illustrates that more energy resources will stable the national security situations by stabilizing the state economy, providing more jobs to local resources and fulfilling the national level energy demands. 57% of respondents agree that government should take concrete steps to explore more gas sources to achieve national security.

However, 33 % of the respondents were not in agreement – according to them, national security is not threatened by the shortage of energy but, weak political leadership, disfunctional state institutions, armed forces intervention in politics and corruption are the key threats to national security. 10% of the respondents were not familiar with the nature of answers and did not show any interest to answer the question. 

Discussion

After reviewing and looking into evidences (secondary and primary) – it is easy to conclude with simple arguments. However, these arguments are the personal judgments of the researcher and could not be generalized scientifically. In addition, it is noteworthy to look into multi-dimensional analysis to spotlight all internal and external barriers – limiting the choices of both federal and provincial governments to explore more gas fields in Baluchistan. The following evidences will guide us to conclude the selected theme.

Pakistan is a rich country with many natural resources, however it is a poor country in terms of managing these resources. Before, we conclude and jump to any conclusion it is significant to categorize the management issues. There are two factors in mismanagement of natural resources, 1) Government inability of management and 2) external pressures and conspiracies by anti-Pakistan elements. 

In Baluchistan, being a rural province, there are evidences of both factors. Since Pakistan’s independence, the federal government has contributed very little in Baluchistan towards development compared to other provinces in terms of human development – Baluchistan is a far less developed province compare to the Khybar Pakhtwon Khwa, Sindh and Panjab provinces. It is a fact that Baluchistan — comprising 44% of the national territory and has estimated 10 million, 5% of the total population — lives mainly in a few population centers, while the rest live in scattered. The federal government shows population density as a key challenge affecting services deliveries in the province, though, this factor is not the key challenge for development.

One of the key challenges of less attention to the province by the federal government is weak communication with the province in terms of access. Baluchistan has the lowest road density 0.15 km per square kilometer with less than one quarter of its roads being paved. However, if transportation services are improved, the province has significant potential for sustainable growth because of the Karachi and Gawader ports and rich reserves of minerals – copper, zinc, gold and natural gas, a clear sign for improving the province and federal government interactions and cooperation for development.

In addition, Baluchistan province relationship with the federal government has always remained apprehensive because of distribution of shares in particular to natural gas. This issue remains as an open invitation letter to foreign involvement. 

On one hand, the federal government did not provided enough support for further exploration of natural gas and other minerals and on other hand, with very a weak agricultural production including less support from the federal government in investing in natural resources and minerals, the Baluchistan province has remained an undeveloped province of Pakistan. However, a strategic shift in national policies could overcome these challenges if political leadership were to respond to this exclusion of Baluchistan from development.

Despite the internal political challenges, the second bottleneck is the influence of anti-Pakistan elements in the Baluchistan province. The recent insurgency, growing opposing attitude trends against national unity and devastating the state assets are the key challenges in delivering services in the province for the wellbeing of the people and is a key challenge to limit the choice of further exploration of natural gas in the province by the federal government. 

The external anti-Pakistan elements through the support of some local tribesmen are manipulating the current situation (political, social and economical) to achieve their primary goal – breaking up Pakistan once again, a history made in 1970s. In this worst scenario, one of the most, important steps that are required to be taken are to secure national security through involving Pakistan’s armed forces for both counter-terrorism and development. Anti-state elements should be countered and the people of Baluchistan should have equitable access to development and wellbeing opportunities in terms of education, health and livelihood opportunities. 

This paragraph, perhaps mixes up two different topics and makes it confusing for the readers, however, it is as simple as a piece of cake. There must be two different approaches to normalize the weakened political, social and economical conditions in the province: 1) Military operations to counter all anti-state elements by force and 2) investing more in the province to provide work opportunities to local inhabitants and help them develop their trust in federal government. 

These goals could be achieved through investing more in securing the energy demands of the country – exploring natural gas fields in Baluchistan province. The short term objective is to provide work opportunities to local inhabitants, and the long term goal would be to meet the demands for natural gas for domestic and industrial use. However, before agreeing with this conclusion, it is also important to look into the history of exploring for natural resources in Pakistan and in particular to the Baluchistan province – and indeed, if there is the capability of further natural resources? 

Small issues – bigger impacts

Starting the history from 1947 looks unexciting to the readers, however, there is a related story hidden in the history – Bangladesh’s partition in 1971, and a lesson learned from the mismanagement of inequitable natural resources distribution.(12) 

Likewise, the Baluchistan provincial government had always held a tense and depressed interaction on revenues related to natural gas with the federal government – low royalties for the Sui gas field and an unjust distribution of gas development surcharges. Claims were frequently raised by Baloch provincial leaders for having more entitlement over gas royalties. During the Musharaf regime, this issue caused deep discontent in Baluchistan and caused distrust between the provincial Baluch leaders and the federal government. This weakness allowed for the direct involvement of anti-Pakistan elements to feed terrorism and separation movements in the province – are we repeating the same history of the 1970s? 

Before more, direct concluding arguments, it is significant to understand the current legal, democratic and natural circumstances of Pakistan and the Baluchistan province for paving roads for the discussion on exploring more gas fields in the province and strengthening the political interactions between the local and federal government leaderships. 

Pakistan has a population of about 180 million in four provinces – Punjab (57%), Sindh (22%), the Khybar Pakhton Khwa Province (14%) and Baluchistan (5%).  In addition, there is the Federally Administered Tribal Area (2%) and the capital district of Islamabad (0.5 %) (13). It is a logical explanation that the federal government budgets should be proposed on the basis of population – Baluchistan with the lowest share.

In addition, as per the 1973 constitution, provinces tremendously rely on the federal government for their finances and have limited constitutionally protected independence. Currently, in particular to the Baluchistan province, there is a growing demand of greater provincial autonomy and a Parliamentary Committee is working on constitutional  reforms  that  aim  at  enhancing  provincial  autonomy  in  political  as well  as  fiscal aspects. The federal government collects over 90 % of revenues, though most of these are shared and a majority is now transferred to the provinces for administration. 

In the case of Baluchistan, the federal government agreed on the increasing demands from the provincial leaderships on gas royalty the federal government through its 7th NFC award (14) agreed to pay all deemed amount overdue to Baluchistan province (120 billion rupees). Based on this decision – the people of Baluchistan were satisfied and assured the federal government to assist in exploring for more gas and oil to increase production gas and the provincial revenues. 

However, this ideal and sustainable solution for overcoming the energy crisis in the country was hijacked by the external anti-state elements and huge distrust and misunderstanding was brought to the front. On other hand, the government had developed a Baluchistan Package that contains substantial political, economic and administrative short- and long-term initiatives for the province. Though, these efforts were not more proactive to protect anti-state elements influence on the local people of the province. Now, more has to be done to achieve national goals of solidarity and development. 

Back into natural resources exploration history:

The Sui gas field is the biggest natural gas field in Pakistan and was located in Baluchistan in 1952 with the commercial exploitation of the field beginning in 1955. Until recently, the Sui gas field accounted for more than 1/3rd of Pakistan’s total gas production (15). However, the disproportionate gas extraction from the Sui gas field has caused the total reserves to be projected to last for just another 20 years with the total remaining of 800 billion cubic meters (16), compared to the original reserves of Sui gas field were 10 trillion cubic feet when it was discovered in 1952.(17) 

In this scenario, Pakistan needs more exploration of natural gas reserves in Baluchistan however, within current fragile security conditions – it is a challenging task for the federal government to invite foreign investment in terms of resources and expertise to Baluchistan province. In addition, there is significant need for more geological surveys to be undertaken in the province to scientifically confirm the availability of natural gas and to estimate cost effectiveness of further drilling and production. 

Currently, natural gas contributes nearly 50% of the total energy use in Pakistan (18) where 20% of total gas comes from the Baluchistan province. Moreover, there is considerable additional potential in Baluchistan and requires more investment and efforts to start production.  

In 1952, it was assumed that Pakistan’s geology was more gas prone when the Zin and Uch gas fields were discovered in the Baluchistan province. At that time, the international petroleum companies were more interested in finding oil, which was more marketable in then, and as such they left Pakistan in mass, largely for the Middle East. This u-turn of the international investment slow downed the exploration of gas in Pakistan and almost stopped in Baluchistan. 

This situation created a need for Pakistan to raise an indigenous exploration and production capability of natural gas, however, the strategic focused diverted to the Sindh province instead of Baluchistan. In 1961, Pakistan formed a “The Oil & Gas Development Corporation” to invest more and manage gas as primary energy source for meeting the national demand for sustainable energy. The strategic shift towards Sindh province was correlated with gas and oil search within Indus river basins because of more potentiality of natural resources in Sindh province.  

In this hunt for both gas and oil resulted further discoveries in Meyal gas field in 1968, Dhodak in 1974 and Pirkoh gas field in 1978. During all these years, till 1990s, gas exploration was discovered in Sindh province and mostly production of gas  in  Baluchistan remained  nearly  static  because  of  poor  local  security  in  the  areas  that  show  greatest  promise, especially  in  the Marri and Bugti agencies. Furthermore, In 1990s Pakistan saw a major breakthrough when five major gas fields were discovered in Sindh province and effected exploration process in Baluchistan. In addition, the ongoing war on  terror  is  taking  very  serious  toll  on  the  security,  economy  and well  being  of Pakistan.  It has further affected upstream of gas exploration activity seriously in particular to Baluchistan.  

With current evidences on the plate, are not enough to propose direct recommendations to the federal government regarding gas exploration in the Baluchistan province. There is still a significant need for further geological surveys to identify the exact amounts of gas in the province. In addition, there is strong need for policy amendments; this provision is a safeguard against the transfer of natural resources from the provinces without extending the benefits of their use to the people of the producing provinces. (19)

Conclusions

The conclusion argues systematically on the issues and challenges discussed above and present the evidenced based on policy recommendations to overcome the energy crisis in particular to natural gas. The systematic division of the arguments help in developing a story that covers multidimensional aspects of the discussed theme. 

First of all, Pakistan’s current economy and annual growth rate of the GDP is very important to be discussed. The country’s total tax to GDP ratio is very low, which means that governments have been chronically underfunded. However, the war on terrorism had seriously affected Pakistan national security and economy. Large proportions of foreign aids has been reduced. On other hand, large defense budgets are depleted to assist the international agenda on countering terrorism. Though, in results – less aid is provided to Pakistan both for defense and development purposes by the international community. Despite, less financial support to Pakistan the borrowing remains indispensable for providing curial budgetary support and macroeconomic stability. In this regard, World Bank and IMF must increase more development budget and should decrease the interest rate of the loans to Pakistan as a relief and support to growth in GDP. 

Within the domestic economy management system – there are huge concerns for sustainable growth and development as Pakistan is highly centralized in revenue collection. Nearly 90% of provincial expenditures are met through federal transfers to provinces. (20) This dependency on the federal government limit the productivity of the province and mainly delays happen due to long beaurucratic procedures and transfer of funds from federal government to province and subsequently to further sub-national levels (district levels).

In addition, the federal government should revise its policies of the royalty sharing with the provinces and should increase the percentage of provincial percentages in particular to Baluchistan province. However within current weak growth of GDP – these policy amendments could be delayed by near future. Meanwhile, further hunt for gas in Baluchistan must be kept at the center of planning. Moreover, for further exploration of the natural gas fields in Baluchistan, it is very important to further strengthen relationships and interactions between the federal, provincial governments and environmental impact assessment (EIA) organization for facilitating initial environmental examination (IEE) – free of bias and should not be influenced by the federal or provincial political bodies. As the IEE approvals would play very important roles in exploring and managing the natural gas production in the province to safeguard the environment.

One of the other important issues is the provincial concerns on the rates of gas royalty. Baluchistan government always recommended the raise in the rates but the federal government has other priorities. This important issue would not be solved by delaying tactics but requires action steps to be taken – logical arguments and consultations will pave the roads for solutions. 

Baluchistan province is relatively more backward and poor and the provision of straight transfers of excise duty and royalty on natural gas will provide the benefits of ownership rights to the province and this would help in increasing further cooperation between the provincial and federal governments to explore more gas fields in the Baluchistan province. 

In these overall efforts, Pakistan’s armed forces inclusion would further boost the process of cooperation and securing national interests by improving the physical security of the province and providing safe environment for national or international investors in natural gas exploration.  In addition, both federal and provincial governments must initiate dialogues with Pakistan’s armed forces leadership to brainstorm on the applicability of the current proposed recommendations – involving Pakistan’s armed forces to provide physical security and technical support to gas fields in Baluchistan. This is very significant; to have the agreement of the armed forces to implement the proposed recommendations.

Disproportionate approach of the federal government towards Baluchistan unrest – need for U turn:

For a fair and sustainable solution to the problems of Baluchistan – there is strong need for refreshing the decades old policy and neglect approach towards Baluchistan province. These arguments are the personal suggestions from the researcher and are not influenced – however, based on the evidences, the federal government needs to assure equitable righteousness to all provinces. Following are some examples of the past inequalities

The  energy consumption of the country stood at 39.4 million tones with gas’ share in energy consumption at 40.3%. The major users of natural gas are the electric power units, industry, domestic consumption, and the  transport sector.18 out of the total (53 trillion cubic feet) discovered natural gas reserves in the country, as much as 19.3 trillion cubic feet are in Baluchistan, but Baluchistan’s domestic consumption is only 4.02 of the  total domestic natural gas consumption of Pakistan, whereas its total natural gas consumption is only 6.72% of the total gas consumption in Pakistan.

Even today only four out of the 26 districts of Baluchistan have gas supply. 23.37% of the natural gas reserves of Pakistan are located in the Sui, Baluchistan. Nevertheless, despite being rich in natural resources only 4.2% of the total gas production is use in Baluchistan. After the discovery of gas in Baluchistan in 1954, the federal government provided gas to the urban center of the province – Quetta cwas given gas in 1986, yet, 22 out of 26 districts of the province did not have access to gas supplies. In addition, District Dera Bugti is the source of the largest gas field in Baluchistan province, yet, it was the second worst food secure district of Pakistan out of 120.

These are the only few examples of inequalities to Baluchistan province as a result of exclusion from developed and fair distribution of the resources. There are many more examples. Despite this ignorance, yet it there is misperception within the federal government authorities that the local people of Baluchistan are part and parcel of the foreign pressures. Why are the people of Baluchistan anti-Pakistan? Why is there insurgency in the province?

The answers to these questions are that a fair and equitable distribution of resources will defiantly overcome these challenges. On other hand, it is a fact that there are anti-Pakistan elements active in the province that run anti-state propaganda. The solution to insurgency in Baluchistan is not as simple as it is understood at the federal level – nor are there any escape routes. There must be a balance and righteousness will to solve the national issues by accepting the past mistakes and providing strategic focus to all problems.

As concluding arguments

  • Federal government to provide equitable resources to Baluchistan Province to help the propel of the province enjoy development in terms of health, education and having access to dignified means of income
  • The provincial government to make sure – cooperate with the federal government and initiate dialogues for exploring more gas fields in the province and not to demand very much high % of gas royalty
  • The Armed forces leadership to decided assistance in stabilizing the insecurity and providing technical assistance in gas exploration and management.

*About the author: Shaista Khanum, former student of MSC PCS NDU Pakistan 

Endnotes:

  1. author
  2.  Natural Resources Allocation in Baluchistan and NWFP: Reasons for Discontent by Meezan Z. Khwaja, Abid Q. Suleri and Babar Shabaz, Working Paper Series # 111, November 2009
  3.  This is not up to date data – for more better and strategic analysis- there is significant need for fresh data. The research study recommends similar surveys to be conducted to collect fresh data. In this regard, there is also need for Natural Gas Data Management System (NGDMS) to be installed in ministry of Petroleum – the NGDMS will serve as one stop data shop for policy makers, researchers, government officials, political leaderships and ministry itself. The NGDMS will be responsible to collect entire data concerning natural resources in particular to natural gas through a proper check list of indicators.
  4. https://pakistaneconomy.wordpress.com/tag/natural-gas-reserves-in-pakistan/
  5.  Report on the Status of Millennium Development Goals Baluchistan, UNDP
  6.  Pakistan national demographic survey – 2009 
  7.  Strategic Interest 
  8.  Lack of resources
  9.  By Gulfaraz Ahmedi 2010
  10.  A non-probability sample is one in which participants are not selected at random; a purposive sample is one that relies on the researcher’s judgment to select participants or locations (Robson, 2002).
  11.  Baluchistan Millennium Development Report – Chapter 1, Introduction, page 17 
  12.  East Pakistan separation form Bangladesh in 1971, partly because of the system’s failure to address its federal tensions and demand for greater provincial autonomy by the political leadership of East Pakistan.
  13.  By Gulfaraz Ahmedi, 2010 – Oil and Gas Revenues in Pakistan
  14.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Finance_Commission_Award 
  15.  http://shkazmipk.com/investing-in-pakistani-energy-companies/ 
  16.  Ibid
  17.  By Gulfaraz Ahmedi, 2010 – Oil and Gas Revenues in Pakistan
  18. Ibid
  19.  By Gulfaraz Ahmedi, 2010 – Oil and Gas Revenues in Pakistan
  20. Ibid

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  6. Natural Resources Allocation in Baluchistan and NWFP: Reasons for Discontent by Meezan Z. Khwaja, Abid Q. Suleri and Babar Shabaz, Working Paper Series # 111, November 2009
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  9. http://shkazmipk.com/investing-in-pakistani-energy-companies/ 
  10. By Gulfaraz Ahmedi, 2010 – Oil and Gas Revenues in Pakistan
  11. Natural Resources Allocation in Baluchistan and NWFP: Reasons for Discontent by Meezan Z. Khwaja, Abid Q. Suleri and Babar Shabaz, Working Paper Series # 111, November 2009
  12. https://pakistaneconomy.wordpress.com/tag/natural-gas-reserves-in-pakistan/ 
  13. Report on the Status of Millennium Development Goals Baluchistan, UNDP
  14. Pakistan national demographic survey – 2009 
  15. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Finance_Commission_Award 
  16. http://shkazmipk.com/investing-in-pakistani-energy-companies/ 

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