THE province of Balochistan, constituting 43% of total Pakistani landmass, has been bestowed with tremendous potentials of natural resources with high mountain barriers and a long coastal area. The people of the province are hard working, tough, intelligent and loyal to their motherland. Robert D. Kaplan writes about the Balochistan province of Pakistan as, “One key to its fate is the future of Gwadar, a strategic port whose development will either unlock the riches of Central Asia, or plunge Pakistan into a savage, and potentially terminal, civil war.” Similarly, the Richard Auty presented his famous ‘Resource Curse Theory’ that exactly defines and explains the curse faced by natural resources enriched regions of the world. Historic evidences give us this unfortunate judgement that any part of the world possessing marvellous natural resources in any form, rarely enjoy its fruits. Rather such region becomes a victim of conspiracies by different actors for the occupation of its resources. In his book, ‘Sustaining Development in Mineral Economies’ Richard Auty, amply described the problems with such resourced regions and states. No doubt, natural resources are desirable, yet, can distort the economy to such a degree that the benefit actually becomes a curse.
What has happened in Balochistan was a true manifestation of the theory and the Kaplon’s vision and analysis. Balochistan has been prey to conspiracies by different regional and extra-regional powers. This God gifted province, has immense natural resources with traditionally hardworking work force. A summary of the already explored mineral resources of the province include; the Saindak mining project, possessing one of the world’s largest copper and gold deposits. Saindak is expected to have 1,339.25 tonnes of gold reserves, thus would generate annual revenue of $ 55 million. Besides, Reko Diq in the Chagai District is a giant mining project in Balochistan. Deposits at Reko Diq is a large low grade copper porphyry, with total mineral resources of 5.9 billion tons of ore with an average copper grade of 0.41% and gold grade of 0.22 g/ton. Besides, the province has huge deposits of natural (Methane) gas, and oil both explored and unexplored. Coal is yet another natural resource, found abundantly in the province. Coal mining of Balochistan is perhaps the only industry in Pakistan that employs the largest number of locally labourers.
Apart from the explored and unexplored natural resources, the development of the strategically located Gwadar port and CPEC are two biggest projects, which displease regional forces like India and other extra-regional forces.
Located at the mouth of Persian Gulf, right at the proximity of the Straits of Hormuz, the Gwadar port of Pakistan has a strategic significance. Since the major shipping route connecting three main continents; Asia, Africa and Europe are passing through the vicinity of this port, therefore, it has attained the status of a key strategic and commercial port. Owing to its “geo-strategic location, Gwadar has the potential to become a regional maritime hub. In connection with the global trade, Gwadar port presents itself as the best alternative and the storage port, as it can handle the major ships and oil tankers.
Over the years, there has been much coherent information that, once Gwadar Port is operational, ports of neighbouring countries would lose their significance. Therefore, these countries have directly or indirectly contributed towards the destabilization of the areas surrounding the port. As well as the extra regional forces, having deep interests in the region and eyeing the unexplored natural resources of this rich province are playing their game here. Local Baloch population was provoked in the name of Baloch sub-nationalism .
Upon heavy funding by Indian RAW to these sub-nationalists exiled leadership and other international players , some mislead elements of the Province even acted as desired by the powers behind them. Despite the regional and international conspira cies, in last few years, there has been visible positive change in the outlook of the province, which can be attributed to the awareness among the people of Balochistan. The continuation of focused area specific developmental programmes by provincial government and federal support and the subsequent arrest of Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav, masses have started rejecting those elements and their anti-state narratives, which mislead them and kept them backward for decades.
The great people of Baluchistan have realized that their youth bulge was wrongly diverted towards those activities, which runs counter to their interests and future development of their province. The people of the Baluchistan province, are now more vigilant and futuristic about their youth and development of their respective areas. The masses seriously regret their past practices at the hands of Indian RAW and foreign agents. Many armed groups have already surrendered their activities and requested the authorities for their merger into the mainstream. They publically laid-down their arms and denounced the militancy in the presence of media.
The anti-Pakistan forces; top of list is RAW and many like minded spying networks or well active to use exiled-Baloch as Indian RAW frustrations are crossing boundaries. The RAW agenda on Balochsitan exposed after the arrest of Indian RAW terrorist Kulbhushan Yadav alias Hussain Mubarak Patel and provided the world a glimpse of the Indian machinations in Balochistan.
Now India has pulled out a number of rabbits from its hat. It is propping up Brahamdagh Bugti who is denouncing his Pakistani nationality and applying for an Indian one. For the last decade, there have been reports of Indian espionage agency RAW funding and sponsoring Brahamdagh Bugti but now the cat is out of the bag and there is no doubt of Indian patronage is now being instigated by RAW to launch funded campaigns .
On August 15, 2016, India’s Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his speech to the nation, went on a diatribe as to how the people of Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir are thanking him for supporting their movement to escape from the clutches of Pakistan. As the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly drew closer, Indian conspiracies gained impulsion.
Pakistan registered a strong protest over the smear campaigning, as such subversive activities were a violation of international laws. The fact of the matter is that, today, Balochistan is a changed province. There has returned the normalcy; a wind of peace, stability, awareness and economic prosperity. The farsighted people of the province get the credit of this change; after all, nothing could have been possible without their willingness to reject the militancy and centrifugal forces.
Nevertheless, the Federal Government, Provincial Government and armed forces of Pakistan have played their roles for promoting peace and stability in the province. With the development of Gwadar Port and CPEC, the people of Balochistan Province are going to be benefitted more and more. The CPEC project has not localized developmental and connectivity benefits it would give alternative opportunity for Himalayan nations to transport products to warm waters. There would be more economic opportunities for the masses, therefore, the local youth need to learn the skills and get acquainted with technological know-how. Involvement of the local educated and skilled manpower would further address the local grievances of the province. After the successful accomplishment of war against Pakistan has been emerging as a regional economic and military power and its people as a strong nation are defeating the regional and global conspiracies against Pakistan.