Geologists from the United States are reported to have discovered vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan, conceivably enough to turn the impoverished country into one of the most lucrative mining centres in the world.

Nearly $1 trillion worth of mineral deposits have been estimated which include iron, copper, cobalt and some other critical industrial metals like lithium.

Geologists are also said to be optimistic about large gold deposits in Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan which borders Pakistan's province of Balochistan.

Balochistan is said to be full of untapped mineral wealth. It is an irony that the largest province is a picture of neglect to date.

No serious effort was ever made to exploit its natural resources.

Instead, it was exploited the other way — both by all succeeding governments and the tribal chiefs. Governments had been unable to do much for digging out the mineral treasure for want of financial resources, and the required technological know-how.

As such, the situation remained as it was in 1947, barring the discovery and development of gas fields in the Sui area.

Since adhocism has been the hallmark of every government, no long-term planning was initiated to unearth the hidden and buried wealth that could change the destiny of the people of the province and the country at large.

Out of the billions of dollars that the federation has received as loans, grants and aid from its lenders/donors over the past six decades, no substantial amount of money has ever been earmarked for the exploitation of natural resources.

No such urge or priority on the part of the federation was ever reflected in the Annual Development Programmes, the Five-Year Plans or in the long-term economic strategies.

Barring the Oil and Gas Development company, other establishments like the Mineral Development Corporation proved to be mere formalities.

Now the 18th Amendment in the Constitution has given the provinces, among other things, rights over their resources.

But the gigantic task of exploiting mineral resources cannot be accomplished by a province on its own.

When the federation has been unable to do much in this regard over a long period of time, how could a province, with its limited resources, be expected to surmount the challenge?

Unless the mineral resources of the country are exploited to the optimum level, the menace of poverty, backwardness, unemployment and all other economic ills will continue to haunt the people of Pakistan in general and those of Balochistan in particular.

The young and educated leaders of public opinion in Balochistan are expected to come out of the centuries-old tribalism and play a constructive role in changing the destiny of their people in the rapidly-changing world of today.



Let women be, control the man
Updated 11 Apr 2021

Let women be, control the man

Men need to be educated and then read the riot act. The enforcement of the law must be merciless in such cases.
Twixt torch & tray
11 Apr 2021

Twixt torch & tray

Some may say that the lawyers’ indignation is not without merit.
Behaviour bond
10 Apr 2021

Behaviour bond

States have turned the imitation of repressive laws into an art form...


11 Apr 2021

Dissension within PTI

WITH the dust from the PDM’s implosion still not fully settled, the PTI is now faced with growing dissension from...
11 Apr 2021

Power to arrest

A SUPREME Court verdict announced on Thursday spelled out what might be considered a self-evident truth in any...
11 Apr 2021

Unequal vaccine distribution

IT is in times of crisis that we often see the best — or worst — of humanity. In this regard, the pandemic has...
10 Apr 2021

Greater tax burden

THE FBR’s tax target of Rs6tr for the next year under the IMF-mandated fiscal adjustment policies will increase ...
UK travel ban
Updated 10 Apr 2021

UK travel ban

Pakistan continued to allow passengers to arrive without quarantine requirements.
10 Apr 2021

IS in Mozambique

IT was not too long ago when the dreaded shock troops of the self-declared Islamic State group were rampaging ...