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Erstwhile Fata: Mines and Minerals proclaimed Govt asset sans debate

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  • Post category:Featured / Pakistan
  • Post last modified:14/11/2019
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ISLAMABAD: Sans any debate from KP Assembly the Government, utilizing its absolute majority, passed a bill on Wednesday (13th November, 2019) proclaiming all the mines and Minerals in former FATA as it’s property.

The opposition members called treasury’s move undemocratic. But the government holds that they had applied Rule 82 of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Procedure and Conduct of Business Rules, 1988. Opposition members who tore copies of the agenda to pieces maintaining that the ruling party misused its majority to pass the bill held:

“This is unprecedented to introduce and pass a bill without allowing members to read it.” MPAs Inayatullah Khan and Sardar Hussain Babak asked the speaker to give time to members, especially from merged districts, express their viewpoint on the bill. But the Chair did not oblige them. 

It is pertinent to mention here that before FATA-KP merger the ownership rights if all minerals belonged to the local tribes while the govt acted as a facilitator between leaseholders and tribes who sold mines and the then political administrations used to issue NoC to leaseholders for mine exploration.

Section 6 (2A) of the law says notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law, or in any order or decree of Court or other authority, or in any rule of custom or usage, or in any contract, instrument, deed or other document, all mines and minerals shall be and shall always be deemed to have been the property of Government, and Government shall have all powers necessary for the proper enjoyment of its right.

Erstwhile FATA happens to harbor vast deposits of gold, copper, marble. coal, soapstone, chromites, oil, and gas etc.

A relevant piece published earlier: 

New oil and gas exploration block in merged FATA/Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: The government is preparing a summary for creation of new oil and gas exploration block in potential areas of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan.

“The summary will be presented before the Council of Common Interests for approval,” a senior official in the Petroleum Division told APP.

Explaining the existing exploration licensing zones, he said the country had been divided into four zones, consisting of West Balochistan-Pishin-Potowar Basins, Kirthar, East Balochistan-Punjab platform-Suleman Basins, Lower Indus Basins and Indus & Makran Basins.

He said earlier the new zone was considered high security risk area, but now after the improved situation these parts of the country were being added in potential hydrocarbon reserves under a sufficient security mechanism.

Answering a question, the official said currently the country’s total sedimentary area was around 827,268 square kilometers (KM2), out of which 320, 741 KM or 39 percent of the area was under exploration.

He said it was a fact that multinational companies were least interested in oil and gas exploration sector due to non-discovery of any major hydrocarbon reserve since long. However, the country has sufficient potential in different sedimentary pockets, but it needed a more robust strategy to explore it.

Accordingly, the official said, the Petroleum Division had held open bidding for 10 exploration blocks in November last, out of which eight had been awarded to successful bidders so far, while another batch of 15-20 blocks was being planned for the bidding by end of this year.

To another question, he said Oil and Gas Exploration and Production (E&P) companies were planning to start work on some exploration blocks, which faced delay, due to security issues in different areas of Balochistan, to find new hydrocarbon deposits and meet ever-growing energy needs of the country.

He said Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) on basis of satellite images had completed in-house geological mapping of the Kohlu Block, covering an area of 2459.1 square-kilometer in districts of Kohlu, Barkhan and Dera Bugti. While, efforts are underway to perform geological field work and 2D seismic data acquisition in the block pending since 2004, which will complete in eight to ten months, he added.

The official said Marri Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL) had planned to start seismic surveys in Zarghon and Block-28 at the earliest, from where a major discovery was expected. “Usually, a survey takes one-year time to complete as per international practice.”

He said the Block-28, covering the area of 5,856 Sibi, Loralai, Kohlu and Bolan, was granted in 1991, but remained under Force Majeure conditions due to non issuance of security clearance.

Quoting a recent study about fast depletion of existing hydrocarbon reservoirs in the country, he feared that the deposits would further deplete by 60 percent by the year 2027.

The official underlined the need for accelerating exploration activities in potential areas on war-footing, saying “The country’s energy demand is increasing and local production is decreasing. So, our reliance on imported petroleum products is escalating with each passing day,” the sources

News Pakistan


M. Nasir Uddin commenced his career 25 years ago as sub-editor with PPI News Agency. For the last 20 years he remained associated with leading Urdu daily Express brought out from over ten different stations simultaneously. He reports religious parties, national politics and local bodies etc.