The Balochistan Assembly passed a resolution on Saturday, calling on the federal government to ensure uninterrupted supply of natural gas to Quetta and extending the facility to other townships of the province as per its promise.
The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) provides gas to only 14 urban townships in 30 districts of Balochistan, while rural areas are deprived of this facility.
There were 14 lawmakers in attendance when this resolution was passed. The proceeding was adjourned for 30 minutes due to a lack of quorum.
PML-Q legislator Jaffar Mandokhel tabled an adjournment motion that was approved for a two-hour debate during Saturday’s proceedings. “It’s ironic that most districts of the province are denied natural gas despite the fact that Balochistan supplies gas to the entire country,” said Mandokhel.
“Natural gas is available in Quetta, Kalat, Mastung, Pishin and some other townships but the remaining province is denied this basic necessity. There is often low gas pressure in Quetta and other areas even during extreme weather,” he lamented.
“This is the second resolution on this issue and we hope that it will be taken seriously, since so far no attention has been paid by the concerned authorities or the federal government,” he told the house.
He also urged the federal government to ensure protection of gas pipelines that are being attacked by Baloch insurgents regularly. “I request the groups that are targeting the pipelines to stop because the attacks are increasing miseries of their own people,” he said.
Provincial Minister for Sports and Culture Shahnawaz Marri also criticised the federal government which had announced a massive package for his province.
“We still don’t know what Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan is meant for since the people of this province are denied the basic facilities of life. Under such circumstances people will obliviously take to hills to struggle for their rights,” he said, outlining that peace was only possible if the government addressed the basic issues.
“There will be peace and harmony only if the federal government addresses the grievances and removes the sense of deprivation among the people of this region,” he said.
Provincial Minister for Finance Mir Asim Kurd also spoke out against the ‘discriminatory attitude’ of federal government and bureaucracy.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2012.