Natural Resources: Blessing or Curse(W-115)

Natural Resources: Blessing or Curse(W-115)

Publication details

  • Thursday | 01 Apr, 2010
  • Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Babar Shahbaz
  • Working Papers
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Abid Suleri, Babar Shahbaz and Meezan Z. Khwaja  

The two provinces of Pakistan where there is much contestation over the access and benefit sharing of natural resources are Balochistan and North West Frontier Province (NWFP).  The key issue is the underlying relationship between natural resources and conflicts, the latter often emerging as a result of unequal access and benefit sharing to the former. The central thesis of this paper is that the natural gas royalty issue in Balochistan (Western Province of Pakistan) and the water royalty issue in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) have not been granted adequate attention at the federal level in Pakistan leading to what can be called the politics of discontent and the fuelling of separatist nationalist movements gradually resorting to militancy in the provinces from which these natural resources are captured. Great provincial autonomy that partly translates into uncontested access to benefits accruing from their natural resources has been the demand of major political parties (that are termed as nationalist parties in local context) in Balochistan and NWFP and the issue of royalties plays an important role in electoral politics in these provinces.