Pakistan has a significant geopolitical disposition in the region, mainly due to the geostrategic location of its southwestern province Balochistan which is situated at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. Since independence, the Balochistan province lacked development. A province born from the womb of ethnic discord is still lacking in every aspect to become more stable. Whereas chants in the international arena for CPEC are heard in both positive and negative sense. In mainstream media, the terminology ‘game-changer’ is being widely used for the CPEC. Game changer for world, for the people of Pakistan and specifically for the people of the Balochistan province.
The cynic side of this whole metaphor is that the common man of Balochistan is not getting the gas facility in the region even though Balochistan has the largest gas reserves in Pakistan. Ironically, football is heading to FATA, but gas is not heading towards Balochistan. The whole story is not a felony committed to harm the national interest but to take the issue in limelight. Analyzing the facts, on Wednesday in the meeting of the Senate Committee on Energy, chaired by Senator Mir Israrullah Khan Zehri, Senator Yousaf Badini prompted that Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan is not getting gas completely. What could get worst when the province is not having the commodity which they are producing themselves? The chair was furious over the gas concern in Balochistan and questioned that the installation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) air mix plants is not being paced up. Furthermore, he reiterated that the Director of this LPG air mix plants can take his personal lands but must implement the programs with pace and seriousness. The meeting was attended by Senators Baz Muhammad Khan, Mir Muhammad Yousaf Badini, Taj Muhammad Afridi, Hamza, Nisar Muhammad and Muhammad Yousaf, besides Minister of State for Power Division Abid Sher Ali, secretaries, Director General Geological Survey of Pakistan and officials of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority.
In the specific meeting, the Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal Khan apprised the committee that the government was encouraging setting up of more LPG air mix plants in selected areas where natural gas supply did not exist. He further added that Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) has already planned to set up about 10 LPG air mix plants in the area of Balochistan in the current fiscal year. He further added that parliamentarians can even help by marking the far-flung areas which desired natural gas. Minister of State for Petroleum insisted that the SSGCL is facing problems to acquire land for LPG plants as the land is too expensive. SSGCL managed to get finances for only 10 LPG.
The committee was briefed by the Directors of the two state companies, Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) and SSGCL that they will set up 65 LPG air mix plants, out of which 30 would be in Balochistan.
These are the alarming bells for the Provincial Government and Federal Government as well, that the residents of the gas producing giant province are not receiving gas themselves. A sense of deprivation can be easily played and thoughts can be incarcerated. The government must resolve these basic human needs issues so that ultimately the plight of Balochistan can be resolved.