Sharing Blaochistan's Vast Mineral Wealth
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.
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?