Geographically Balochistan is the westernmost and largest province of Pakistan. Although it is considered the most neglected province of the country, Balochistan possesses varied natural resources which include coal, Sulphur, copper, gold etcetera. The province offers natural gas and oil reserves to Pakistan. However, the living standard of Balochistan’s people especially the remote districts is in severe condition.
In 1952 Pakistan discovered its first gas field in Sui which started functioning in 1955. Sui is the sub-district of Dera Bugti, Balochistan. The Sui gas field produced almost 56% of Pakistan’s total output of natural gas in 1995. Then other gas fields gradually emerged like; Kandhkot Gas field, Adhi field, and Qadirpur gas field, etc. By 2017 Sui gas field contribution dropped to 22 percent. As per a report that Sindh produces 63 percent natural gas and Balochistan 17 percent and consumes only 2 percent. Whilst Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab together produce 10%. Unfortunately, Sindh and Balochistan are rich in terms of natural resources and lack to maintain an average living standard for their people.
Furthermore, Balochistan is the second-largest producer of gas only falls behind Sindh. It is shocking to know that 60 percent of Balochistan is deficient in natural gas. Despite the fact, that the two leading state-owned companies ‘Sui Southern Gas Company’ and ‘Sui Northern Gas Company’ carry the name of “Sui” the town (natural gas extract from) where its own people have no facility of natural gas. It is important to highlight that 65 years since the discovery of the Sui gas field, but Balochistan’s districts are insufficient for its own oil production. Article 158 of Pakistan’s constitution supports the Balochistan cause on that matter. This means that the discovery of any natural resources must benefit the province first, where the discovery occurred then the other provinces should benefit.
Subsequently, the story is opposite in the Balochistan case however, the gas extracts from Balochistan run the factories in Punjab. Whereas, in Balochistan, the majority of its districts lack the facility of natural gas. It is sad that the nominated members are not able to raise voices on the national forums, regarding the dearth of the natural gas facility in majority Balochistan. Additionally, the availability of natural gas in Balochistan is now in crisis. Because of low gas pressure, shortage, heavy bills, and millennium gas infrastructure.
In January, Balochistan Assembly members warned that they will suspend the gas supply from the Sui gas field if Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) does not restore gas pressure in Quetta and other districts of Balochistan. However, the low gas pressure dilemma is not new to consumers. Especially in winter, the low gas pressure and shortage of gas is misery for those people whose totally dependent on gas. On the other hand, people who are not bound to natural gas use firewood, sawdust, and pallets to survive the winter. Thus, from Sui (gas) to Reko Diq (copper mine) and Saindak (gold project) to Gawadar (CPEC) Balochistan is exploited, because of incompetent politicians. The federal and provincial governments must take notice and sort out this issue without any further delay. The negligence of the government might catalyze the sentiment of desolation in the locals.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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