Sharing Blaochistan's Vast Mineral Wealth

The US state of Alaska has a small population of only 680,000 people and vast territory measuring 1.5 million square kilometers. The state is endowed with tremendous mineral wealth--particularly oil and gas. Alaska Permanent Fund was set up in 1976 to ensure that ordinary Alaskans get a share of this natural wealth. Currently the fund has assets of over $38 billion and each Alaskan will receive $1,174.00 in cash from it for 2011.

Pakistan's Balochistan province shares some similarities with the US state of Alaska. It is the largest of Pakistan's four provinces in terms of area (347,190 square kilometers) but the smallest in terms of population (6.6 million). With large reserves of copper, gold and natural gas, it is probably the richest of Pakistan's provinces in terms of its natural resources.



Most of the grievances of the people of Balochistan stem from a sense that they have not benefited from the resources under their land. Powerful tribal chieftains in the province have exploited this sense of deprivation to demand and receive significant funds for themselves while ordinary Balochis have remained among the poorest and most backward in Pakistan.

As Pakistan moves forward with vast new mineral discoveries such as Reko Diq in Balochistan, it's essential that there be a mechanism to equitably share with ordinary Balochis the billions of dollars in revenue expected to flow from these resources.

Balochistan Fund can be modeled on Alaska Permanent Fund. It is a constitutionally established and professionally managed fund which is run by a semi-independent corporation. Shortly after the oil from Alaska's North Slope began flowing to market through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, the Permanent Fund was created by an amendment to the constitution of the U.S. state of Alaska to be an investment for at least 25% of proceeds from some minerals [such as oil and gas] sale or royalties.



Similar funds should be established for other provinces as well. For example, energy-rich Sindh has large coal deposits and huge shale gas reserves which are worth at least hundreds of billions of dollars. Revenues from these resources should be shared equitably to benefit ordinary citizen of Sindh province.

Sharing of the wealth with the people in each province will give them a tangible stake in national development. It will help bring and maintain peace and stability necessary to attract badly needed investments for developing Pakistan's vast mineral resources.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Vast Shale Gas Reserves

Reko Diq Copper & Gold

Pakistan's Mineral Wealth

Thar Coal Deposits

USGS Minerals Overview For Pakistan

US Dept of Energy Report on Shale Gas

Pakistan's Twin Energy Crises

Pakistan's Electricity Crisis

Pakistan's Gas Pipeline and Distribution Network

Lure of Pakistan's Riches Calls

Israel in Alaska?

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Here's the latest from Dawn on Reko Diq license:

LONDON: Pakistan’s Balochistan province has rejected a mining lease application from Chilean copper producer Antofagasta and Canada’s Barrick Gold, raising questions over the future of their Reko Diq copper-gold project.

The two miners’ joint venture, Tethyan Copper, said last month it had filed a “notice of dispute” with the province over Reko Diq, after Balochistan government officials refused to meet the company’s executives or extend a deadline for a response to objections raised over the lease.

The mining lease application, for an area including the Reko Diq deposit, was submitted in February.

“Tethyan strongly believes that the Reko Diq project can contribute significantly to the development of a modern mining industry in Balochistan and will consider its options for further courses of action,” Antofagasta said in a statement on Wednesday.

Reko Diq – only the second significant project in the mineral-rich region and potentially a source of much needed inward investment for Pakistan – holds an estimated 5.9 billion tonnes of mineral resources, with an average copper grade of 0.41 per cent and an average gold grade of 0.22 grams a tonne.

The joint venture partners spent $200 million in 2006 buying the exploration licence from rival BHP Billiton.

Construction has been projected to cost some $3.3 billion, but that is expected to climb given rising costs faced by the mining industry, particularly in remote locations like Balochistan.


http://www.dawn.com/2011/11/16/pakistan-says-no-to-antofagasta-barrick-gold-mine.html
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Reuters' report on Reko Diq status:

Pakistan's Reko Diq, an untapped copper and gold mine of fabulous potential, was meant to be the biggest foreign investment in the country's mining sector, but it's beginning to look more like fool's gold to the companies involved.

Set in one of the most godforsaken places on earth, in a Baluchistan desert at the foot of an extinct volcano, Reko Diq was expected to yield revenues of at least $60 billion over the 56-year life of the mine.

Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), a joint venture between Chile's Antofagasta and Canadian-based Barrick Gold, had sunk $220 million over the past five years into exploring the deposit in the ochre sand desert, where temperatures reach 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. It was planning to invest a total of $3.3 billion when the provincial government abruptly refused to grant a mining license last year.

TCC says it never did get an explanation.

"It's been difficult to define what their actual issues were," Tim Livesey, CEO of TCC, told Reuters in an exclusive interview. "We went back to them for clarification, as many of their issues are not covered in the Baluchistan Mining Regulations."

A local government official, who requested anonymity, said TCC took too long to complete its feasibility study and that it was "cheating" Baluchistan by under-valuing the worth of the copper and gold.

"They are the monopoly," the official said angrily. "They are the monopolists of the gold! They don't want to disclose the worth of the gold in Baluchistan."

The case is now before the Pakistan Supreme Court, and TCC has filed for international arbitration. The Baluchistan government, meanwhile, has recently handed out exploration permits in the area around Reko Diq to new Pakistani and Chinese companies with no mining experience.

Pakistan is already viewed as a high risk investment due to chronic civil and sectarian conflict, terrorism, corruption, poor regulation and chronic power outages. Legal uncertainty would only add to that list.
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The Baluchis have staged five uprisings since the province was incorporated into Pakistan in 1948, each time demanding more control over their natural resources.

Because of this, some analysts speculate that the powerful Pakistani army sees Reko Diq as a strategic resource and hopes to keep the mineral wealth out of the hands of the Baluchistan government, in case separatist political parties win provincial elections.

The army, acknowledging Pakistan's inexperience in large-scale commercial mining, might also want to bring China into the picture. China is the world's largest consumer of copper, has experience in large-scale mining, and has a record of building infrastructure in exchange for resources in developing countries.

"Everywhere I look, there are indications of Chinese interest in developing this area, more than Barrick Gold could," said Shamila Chaudhary of Eurasia Group.

The Chinese government-owned Metallurgical Construction Corp (MCC) already runs the nearby Saindak Copper-Gold Project, and submitted a counter-proposal to develop the Reko Diq mine during a visit to Pakistan by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jibbao in December 2010. Pakistan media say MCC's proposal was similar to TCC's, but was sweetened with a larger share of the royalties going to the government. This was after TCC had submitted its feasibility report. MCC has not commented on those reports.

TCC is still hoping for a negotiated settlement outside arbitration, but Chaudhary thinks its parent companies are looking to cut their losses.

"From what I hear on the Barrick Gold side ... they're looking to come to closure on this issue," she said.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/17/us-pakistan-goldmine-idUSTRE81G06E20120217
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an excerpt of a Huffington Post Op Ed on Baloch insurgents:

According to Peters, one of the most serious issues with the Baloch independence movement is "deeply troubling" infighting. In fact, he is emphatic in his condemnation of such bickering; going so far as to assert: "they are quickly becoming their own worse enemies."

In his view, individual Baloch simply don't understand that their personal feuding undermines the larger movement: "Certain Baloch fail to understand that their only hope in gaining independence is if they put their own egos and vanity aside and work together. This is the cold hard fact. They are already outgunned and outmanned. Pakistan will continue to to exploit their differences until they realize this."

So long as the Baloch continue to engage in "petty infighting," including "savaging each other in emails," (Ralph) Peters is pessimistic they can garner widespread support in the West. In fact, he warns that such infighting could eventually put off even their staunchest supporters.

As a result, he recommends that the Baloch leadership and activists set the example and halt their public bickering: "The Baloch leaders need to stop their severe personal attacks on each other and others. In the military, we say that you don't let an entire attack get bogged down by a single sniper. But, there are individuals out there who are causing divisions and attacking people. They tend to look at the debate as if you don't agree with me completely then you're my enemy. This undermines their cause."

Until these leaders and activists "support the big picture," Peters offers little hope that the broader Baloch nation will be able to "work together, put aside their deep divide, and unify." This troubles Peters as he confides: "At this point, do I believe they have a good chance of achieving independence? No. But, it would be much higher in the future if they just start working together. It's frustrating that the leaders can't unite."

Peters is also bothered by the Baloch tendancy to blame such infighting on covert operations by Pakistan's military and security services: "The region as a whole tends to blame conspiracy theories. But, I have come to believe that you never accept conspiracies when something can be explained by incompetence. There are probably a mix of things going on here. The Pakistani military and intelligence services probably have provocateurs working in Balochistan just like they do in Afghanistan. They live by the old rule of divide and conquer and they are good at that. But, the bigger issue is the Baloch's own egos. That's what needs addressed."


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eddie-walsh/baloch-pakistan_b_1326421.html
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Daily Times Op Ed on oil and gas reserves in Balochistan:

Khattan oil would be more valuable to the railway now than it was formerly. As fuel it was worth not more than 1½ times in weight to Khost coal and so could not possibly compete, but it was mainly as a possible substitute for pitch, the agglomerate used in fuel briquette manufacture, that it is to be now considered. Borings were also commenced in 1891 at Pir Koh near Spintangi, but were abandoned after they had reached a depth of 560 feet as no signs of petroleum were discovered. Gypsum occurs in considerable quantities near Khattan and Tung near Spintangi.

Another detailed, modern, scientific seismic survey was conducted in the mid-1990s, which proved the presence of tremendous gas and oil deposits across Balochistan, including the Marri Bugti areas, near the Quetta Zargoon belt. There are proven big gas fields, very good quality and at a large scale, explored near Barkhan at Jandran in the 1970s, and only require to be linked to the Dera Ghazi Khan pipeline. Oil also has been found at Kingari District Loralai and it needs to be pumped out. In Dera Bugti near Sui three more gas fields with very big deposits; all three estimated to hold about ten trillion cubic meters, have been explored very recently. According to reports, all proven explored gas is estimated to be about 20 trillion cubic meters, whereas Pakistan requires 700 million cubic feet and is clamouring to get it from Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Iran or Qatar.

It is also reported that the cost of imported gas either from Central Asia, Iran or Qatar would be double of local available gas in Balochistan. The important point worthy of attention in any case is that if a pipeline is built to import gas from Central Asia, Iran or Qatar, it has to cross Balochistan. Now the question is, why is the local Balochistan oil and gas not extracted to meet Pakistan’s life and death energy crisis?
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The reports observe that this security assessment about shifting trends in the insurgency comes with the warning that the “unthinkable situation” may worsen, which could further aggravate if the political leadership does not wake up to the situation. One high security official in the briefing realises, “Balochistan is no longer a local issue. It has acquired the international limelight.” Now the main question is, whose is the policy failure in Balochistan, politicians or the use of force? If at all the political leadership wakes up to the situation today, what options are left to them? Recently, moderate pro-federation, former chief minister Sardar Ataullah Mengal said that the Baloch are pushed to a position of no return. In this background, the basic question under discussion is how to cope with the energy crisis. In any case, exploration of local Balochistan resources or the pipeline have to be laid across thousand of miles of the Baloch land.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\03\19\story_19-3-2012_pg3_4
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Dawn report on the latest Reko Diq saga:

QUETTA: The federal government has agreed to declare Reko Diq gold and copper mining project area as export processing zone and the Balochistan government and the EPZ Authority will sign a memorandum of understanding soon.

Dr Samar Mubarakmand, vice chairman of board of governors of the Reko Diq Project, informed Chief Minister Nawab Raisani about the centre’s willingness during a briefing on the project here on Tuesday. The provincial government had requested the EPZ Authority to declare the project area as export processing zone.

The chief minister, who is chairman of the project’s board of governors, reiterated his government’s stance to run the project on its own.

“Whether we remain in power or not, we will give these great assets to Balochistan and the country as gift,” Mr Raisani said, adding that he and his government had faced immense pressure in efforts to make the stakeholders realise that the people of Balochistan were real owners of the project.

“We rejected all pressures and did not bow down to the forces who wanted to deprive the province of ownership of the Reko Diq project,” Mr Raisani said.

He alleged that some elements had tried to “sell the project at a throwaway price” with the connivance of some vested interests. “But my government has foiled all conspiracies.”

The chief minister said some “international forces” did not want Balochistan and Pakistan to benefit from the Reko Diq project.

Earlier, Mr Raisani approved a proposal for allocating Rs1.8 billion in the next budget for the project and revival of the recruitment committee.

The chief minister was informed that the Geological Survey of Pakistan had promised to extend all help and cooperation, including training facilities and making geographical survey drawing of the project.

Mr Mubarakmand said the authorities concerned were vetting applications for recruiting technical and other staff.

The chief minister said recruitment should be made on merit and local people be given priority.


http://dawn.com/2012/04/11/reko-diq-project-area-to-be-declared-epz/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's Daily Times on Reko Diq:

Reko Diq mining is once again topping the country’s legal discourse. At stake is one of the world’s largest gold and copper reserves worth tens of billions of dollars.
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It all started in the early nineties when BHP – a global mining giant — identified the mineral potential of Chaghai’s Tethyan belt in western Balochistan. This was inferred from the 1956-58 basic geophysical reports of the American Geological Survey complemented by satellite imagery of the earth’s crust over 13,000 square kilometres of Chaghai.

Having done the basic homework and waiting for the right opportunity, BHP signed the Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement ( CHEJVA) with the Balochistan Development Authority (BDA) when the caretaker government of Sardar Nasir Mengal took charge in July 1993 and World Bank executive Moeen Qureshi was Pakistan’s interim prime minister.

It was morally and politically incorrect for both the caretaker government and a global corporation like BHP to sign off Balochistan’s largest sub-surface asset to a single party without proper international bidding and through the BDA and not Balochistan’s Ministry of Minerals. At stake was over $ 500 billion worth of copper and gold extractable over the next century.

The reserves are shallow, only 21 metres deep and ideal for an open pit going down till 1,000 metres.

CHEJVA was in favour of BHP, Australia 75 percent to BDA’s 25 percent on a joint investment basis. Only 2 percent royalty was stipulated for the government of Balochistan against exploration rights over 3.3 million acres for a period of 56 years.

In comparison, the Afghan government gave a similar licence of gold mining at 26 percent plain royalty for 10 years at their Qara Zaghan Gold Project in 2011.

“Its not simple corruption but more a case of culpable national incompetence,” boils Raza Kazim.

---

Over the next three years and as a result of basic shallow drilling samples, around 14 potential areas were identified by BHP, including the goldmine Reko Diq. The Balochistan government awarded 10 prospecting licences to BHP out of these. Then in 2000, BHP relinquished all those licences except one, i.e. PL-4, and this was then amalgamated with PL-14, i.e. Reko Diq.
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According to TCC’s feasibility, an ore extraction of some six billion tonnes is projected over the next five years with an output of 200,000 tonnes of extracted copper and around 250,000 ounces of gold every year. This capacity could double if needed.

The processing copper concentrate facility at Reko Diq will process 120,000 tonnes of copper ore every day.

Reko Diq project, which took over 20 years to reach this feasibility and national and international litigation levels is the second major copper/gold project of Balochistan, the first being Saindak.

In the Saindak project, the federal government spent over $ 200 million to develop a mine and processing facility for concentrate copper ore in the early nineties when Reko Diq just got started. Having worked and apparently failed at the project, the federal government handed the whole project to MCC China at only $ half a million per annum fee in 2001.

The Chinese have been extracting copper ore and shipping its concentrate to China over the last 12 years and giving the federal government around $ 60 million per annum as share of its 50 percent profits. The remaining 50 percent stays with the Chinese.

The government’s attitude towards strategic national assets can be gauged from the fact that the federal government has less than 10 employees to look after the whole of Saindak Copper Project in the Ministry of Petroleum while it employs over 90,000 persons for Pakistan Railways for the same amount of revenue.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\12\17\story_17-12-2012_pg7_16
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Supreme Court has voided Reko Diq lease with Tethyan, reports Globe & Mail:

Pakistan’s top court on Monday declared invalid a lease for one of the world’s richest deposits of gold and copper held by a Canadian-Chilean consortium that includes Vancouver-based giant Barrick Gold Corp.

Barrick, the world’s largest gold producer, and Chile’s Antofagasta Minerals, each own a 37.5-per-cent share, as the Tethyan Copper Company, in the largest Foreign Direct Investment mining project in Pakistan.

Their plan was to build and operate a copper and gold open-pit mine at Reko Diq in the Chagai district of the southwestern province Baluchistan, the most deprived part of Pakistan, rife with Taliban, sectarian and separatist violence.

Barrick and Antofagasta say the proposed plant could produce 600,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold a year, but in 2011 work came to a standstill after the local government refused to renew the consortium’s mining lease.

The provincial government in Baluchistan is also the sleeping partner in the Reko Diq project with a 25-per-cent stake.

Reasons for the dispute are murky, but some analysts suggest that China, a close Pakistan ally, is also interested in the deposits.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday declared “not valid” the initial 1993 exploration agreement between the Baluchistan government and Australian mining group BHP, since BHP Billiton Ltd.

It said the agreement ran counter to Pakistan’s mineral development act and mining concession rules, and therefore to transfer it to the Canadian-Chilean consortium is also “illegal, void and non est”.

Experts say mining in Baluchistan is dominated by small companies focused primarily on marble and granite, which waste up to 80 per cent of mined minerals because of poor blasting techniques.

They also call for more transparent polices to allow business to flourish


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/pakistan-voids-gold-copper-lease-held-by-barrick-consortium/article6994959/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Daily Mirror story on a JUI Baloch legislator Abdur Rehman Khetran arrested for running a private prison with people chained in a dungeon:

A local MP in Pakistan has been arrested for running a private dungeon at his home after five people were found chained up.

Some of the captives had been held in Abdul Rehman Khetran's cellar for several years.

The dungeon only came to light after private guards working for the lawmaker attacked police at a checkpoint at the weekend, beating them up and stealing their weapons.

Police then raided the lawmaker's fortified home in lawless Baluchistan province, freed the prisoners, including one woman, and arrested Khetran, his son and six private guards.

Barkhan district police chief Abdul Ghafoor Marri said the prisoners had been mistreated, and a truck packed with ammunition and weapons had also been found.

But Khetran claimed the arrests were politically motivated.

The mineral-rich western region of Baluchistan is deeply impoverished and a haven for smugglers, drug lords, Taliban insurgents and separatist rebels.


http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/pakistani-mp-arrested-after-five-3020456
Riaz Haq said…
People often compare Balochistan with East Pakistan. Balochistan has nothing in common with East Pakistan.

1. Only a third of the population of Balochistan is Balochi speaking. The Baloch Nationalists are too few number, highly disorganized and deeply divided among themselves. They are no more than a nuisance that Pak military can effectively handle. Besides, almost as many ethnic Baloch people live outside of Balochistan province (in Sindh and Southern Punjab) as in Balochistan, according to Anatol Lieven(Pakistan-A Hard Country)....and they are quite well integrated with the rest of the population in Pakistan. Asif Zardari, the current president of Pakistan, is an ethnic Baloch, as was former President Farooq Laghari and recent interim Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso. Pakistan's COAS Gen Musa was a Hazara from Balochistan.

2. In East Pakistan, there was an election won by Sheikh Mujib with heavy mandate. Nothing like that has happened nor likely happen with a bunch of fractious Baloch tribesmen who represent only a few districts in Balochistan.

3. East Pakistan was split by an outright foreign invasion which is highly unlikely to happen to nuclear-armed Pakistan.

4. Retired US Army Col Ralph Peters is a CIA guy who knows a lot of Balochistan. Here's an excerpt of a Huffington Post Op Ed on Baloch insurgents:

According to Peters, one of the most serious issues with the Baloch independence movement is "deeply troubling" infighting. In fact, he is emphatic in his condemnation of such bickering; going so far as to assert: "they are quickly becoming their own worse enemies."

In his view, individual Baloch simply don't understand that their personal feuding undermines the larger movement: "Certain Baloch fail to understand that their only hope in gaining independence is if they put their own egos and vanity aside and work together. This is the cold hard fact. They are already outgunned and outmanned. Pakistan will continue to to exploit their differences until they realize this."

So long as the Baloch continue to engage in "petty infighting," including "savaging each other in emails," (Ralph) Peters is pessimistic they can garner widespread support in the West. In fact, he warns that such infighting could eventually put off even their staunchest supporters.

As a result, he recommends that the Baloch leadership and activists set the example and halt their public bickering: "The Baloch leaders need to stop their severe personal attacks on each other and others. In the military, we say that you don't let an entire attack get bogged down by a single sniper. But, there are individuals out there who are causing divisions and attacking people. They tend to look at the debate as if you don't agree with me completely then you're my enemy. This undermines their cause."

Until these leaders and activists "support the big picture," Peters offers little hope that the broader Baloch nation will be able to "work together, put aside their deep divide, and unify." This troubles Peters as he confides: "At this point, do I believe they have a good chance of achieving independence? No. But, it would be much higher in the future if they just start working together. It's frustrating that the leaders can't unite."

Peters is also bothered by the Baloch tendancy to blame such infighting on covert operations by Pakistan's military and security services: "The region as a whole tends to blame conspiracy theories. But, I have come to believe that you never accept conspiracies when something can be explained by incompetence..."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eddie-walsh/baloch-pakistan_b_1326421.html
Riaz Haq said…
Balochis 40% of #Balochistan's population. #BLA, #BLF, #BRA, #UBA 3-4K fighters fighting #Pakistan are deeply divided http://shar.es/FdNz1
Riaz Haq said…
Right in the heart of Balochistan, there are islands of excellence in education, service to the community and devotion to nation-building. Unfortunately, they don’t get media attention or national recognition. The commitment of these men and women so devoted to the development of Balochistan needs to be acknowledged. My visits twice to the Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), Quetta, over the past two years, reveal a very different Balochistan than the picture we usually get about the standard of higher education or about the institution-builders in our most backward province.

The university is merely 12-year-old. It is amazing to see how this institution has transformed itself into one of the outstanding places for learning in the country. The university, first housed in an abandoned textile mill on the outskirts of the city, has re-engineered and converted the buildings into an architectural marvel. Words cannot explain this change that houses some of the best facilities, laboratories, classrooms, auditoriums and sunlit corridors, lobbies and halls. Important as they are, the physical structures tell very little about the human development they facilitate.

Having visited so many of the universities in Pakistan, old and new, BUITEMS makes a lasting impression of positive change taking place in Balochistan. First, it has highly qualified faculty members, mostly with foreign degrees, and opting to serve in their home province. The congenial atmosphere of the university also continues to attract teachers from other provinces. Just to give you an idea, it has 49 PhDs working and 137 more enrolled in some of the best universities abroad. Second, it has 7,523 students from various parts of the province with representation from other provinces and Afghanistan, facilitating provincial and national diversity. Third, more than 33 per cent of the students receive financial assistance from the university. It is refreshing to see that BUITEMS is free of disruptive student politics that have ruined a good number of national universities in Balochistan and other provinces.

It is the vision, commitment and hard work of the faculty and the Vice-Chancellor, Engineer Farooq Ahmad Bazai, who have contributed to the rise of this university that offers hope and opportunity to young men and women in Balochistan to excel. There is more. Starting with the University of Balochistan, the first-ever university to be established in the province in 1972, Balochistan now has six universities in the public sector with a lot of support from the Higher Education Commission for infrastructural development and scholarships for training of faculty in foreign universities. The present Balochistan government of Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has shown far greater commitment and ownership of public education than any government in the history of the province. It now spends about 26 per cent of the budget on education.

The point is that the usual prism and the lenses we often use to look at Balochistan and the country require some dusting and realigning. Fixed views and fixed lenses never help grasp the reality of change anywhere.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/881452/a-world-class-university-in-balochistan/
Riaz Haq said…
Brahumdagh Bugti expected soon to return to #Pakistan after 9 year self-exile to end #Balochistan insurgency. http://tribune.com.pk/story/989330/brahumdagh-bugti-expected-to-end-9-year-exile-soon-reports/ …

a source in the inner circles of Balochistan governement told RFE/RL’s Gandhara website that Bugti is months away from returning to Pakistan, marking an end of his nine-year exile which had followed the killing of his grandfather, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, by Pakistani security forces in 2006.

“He has agreed to come [back to Pakistan],” the website quoting an anonymous source said. “We have reached an agreement on 90 per cent of the issues.”

The source, a senior politician within Balochistan’s ruling coalition claimed Bugti indicated his willingness to return in a series of meeting with Balochistan chief minister in Switzerland this summer.

“There were two or three meetings [in July]. He [Bugti] has asked for respect and an end to all cases against him [as a pre-condition for his return],” the source was further quoted as saying.

Earlier in August, Bugti agreed to hold talks with the government on the Balochistan issue, hinting at the possibility of withdrawing demands of separation — provided that was what the people in the province wanted.

“We are ready to stay with Pakistan if our friends, well-wishers, majority of the Baloch people and political allies want the same,” the self-exiled separatist leader told the BBC Urdu in an interview in Switzerland.

This was the first time that the BRA leader, who is the grandson of former Balochistan governor and chief minister Nawab Akbar Bugti, voiced his support for talks with the government.
Riaz Haq said…
Barhumdagh's cousin, Shahzain, grandson of Akbar Bugti, backs #Pakistan, ready to fight #India. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/barhumdagh-bugtis-cousin-backs-pakistan-says-will-fight-india-3049839/ … via @IndianExpress

In a sign of internal rivalry in the Baloch separatist movement, Brahumdagh Bugti’s cousin has said he would fight for Pakistan in the event of a war with India. Shahzain Bugti, a grandson of slain Baloch tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, has said that if war breaks out with India he and his tribal warriors would fight against Indian troops along with the Pakistan Army.

Shahzain, a cousin of Geneva-based Brahumdagh who has sought asylum in India, said at the annual convention of the Jamhoori Watan Party which was formed by his grandfather that the Bugti tribe would always stand in defence of Pakistan.
“Brahumdagh can stay in India or Geneva that is his personal decision. But as far as I or the party is concerned we will always follow the dictates of Nawab Akbar Bugti,” Shahzain said.
He said his grandfather had opted for Pakistan at the time of Partition and his party would remain loyal to this ideology.
“Nawab Akbar Bugti was always with Pakistan and in the past also our tribesmen fought for Pakistan. Nothing has changed. Our ideology is the same. Even today if India goes to war with Pakistan we will defend the Pakistani borders,” he said.
Ever since nationalist leader Akbar Bugti was killed in a military operation in August, 2006, there has been a war of succession between three of his grandsons including Shahzain and Brahumdagh who are both claimants to the title of the tribe’s chieftainship, and have refused to recognise Aali Bugti as his successor.
Akbar Bugti had decided to nominate Brahumdagh as his successor during his lifetime but met with resistance from several tribal elders.
He had informally appointed Brahumdagh as his political successor and Mir Aali as his tribal successor. Brahumdagh, who has been living in Switzerland, on Tuesday approached the Indian Embassy in Geneva seeking political asylum in India. His application was received by the Home Ministry in New Delhi which is examining it.
The troubled Balochistan province has been in the eye of a storm since Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the atrocities and human rights violations being committed in the province. India has also raised the Balochistan issue at the UN.
On Saturday, several hundred tribesmen also held a demonstration against India insisting they would fight side by side with the Pakistan military if war breaks out.
Riaz Haq said…
Why is organized illegal #mining flourishing in #Pakistan?

http://www.mining-technology.com/features/featurewhy-is-illegal-mining-flourishing-in-pakistan-5731542/

Many challenges face Pakistan as it strives to stamp out illegal mining and attract investment to take full advantage of its rich variety of resources. As the eight-year ban on excavation in the Northern Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ends, Molly Lempriere takes a look at the challenges in this region and the country as whole, and asks what the government can do to unlock the next step in Pakistan’s mineral journey.

Mining is a crucial industry in Pakistan, but one which faces a host of challenges. Regional and national governments are working to improve the regulatory and operational landscape for miners and mining companies, but with regional instability and illegal mining pervasive, is there still a long way to go?

Pakistan is a resource-wealthy country with large quantities of coal, iron and copper, as well as gold and gemstones. Currently, Pakistan hosts the world’s second-largest coal deposits with as much as 185 billion tonnes, as well as being the third-largest producer of iron ore pigments.

Pakistan has only begun to scratch the surface of its resource potential. The last few years have seen large mineral deposits being unearthed, including an iron ore body in the central province of Punjab. This discovery, announced in 2015, reportedly contains an estimated 500 million tonnes (Mt) of iron ore and is owned by the Metallurgical Corporation of China.

However, a history of corruption and illegal mining has deterred international investment in the mining industry. Globally, mining has a long history of operating in dangerous and underdeveloped areas, but the insecurity of assets in Pakistan continues to deter many companies from investing.

A moratorium on mining excavation in the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was introduced eight years ago, but this has been repealed by an ordinance in August 2016. The ordinance brings in a series of regulations that the local government claims will increase international investment, but some have reacted with anger. The province, which has been plagued by illegal mining, highlights the widespread problems affecting the country as a whole.

Illegal competition
Illegal mining has flourished in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since the ban; as legitimate mining efforts have ceased, mafia groups and other gangs have taken over. GlobalData head of research and analysis for mining Clifford Smee says the mafia’s presence is unsurprising, as “mining needs a somewhat sophisticated organisation to successfully operate”.

“Illegal mining is always an issue in developing countries,” Smee adds. “We see large illegal mining in major producing countries such as Indonesia (100Mt of coal is illegally mined), and we have seen issues with illegal mining in neighbouring India.

“Typically, illegal mining flourishes in periods of high prices, such as the high coal and iron ore prices which drove illegal mining of these commodities in South East Asia during the Chinese mining super cycle,” Smee continues.

"Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is an area rich in gems and semiprecious stones, with Swat alone boasting 70 million carats of emerald reserves."
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is an area rich in gems and semiprecious stones, with Swat alone boasting 70 million carats of emerald reserves. The Mardan district has nine million carats of pink topaz reserves while Kohistan has ten million carats of peridot, all of which are currently being illegally traded by organised gangs.


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