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Conflict in Dera Bugti by Nizamuddin Nizamani

originally published in Dawn.com: http://www.dawn.com/2005/0 4/15/letted.htm

Background detail regarding underground resources in Balochistan:
All underground resources are supposed to be owned by Fedral Government of Pakistan as Constitution 0f 1973.
12.5 percent Royalty on natural gas on the well head price is paid to provincial government of Balochistan, not to any individual.
Only rents of land and water charges are paid to the land owners by the Pakistan Petrolium Limited

THIS has reference to Prof Anwar Syed’s article “Conflict in Dera Bugti” (April 10). I appreciate his effort for initiating a healthy debate on this issue. He has discussed the overall scenario prevailing around Dera Bugti, proving the demands by Nawab Akbar Bugti as illegal and illegitimate in the light of Articles 24 and 172.

He has also held Nawab Akbar Bugti responsible for lawlessness, supported the establishment and criticized those who support a dialogue process. His views seem to be based on published government material.

Balochistan was annexed to Pakistan through an instrument of accession signed by the then Khan of Kalat, Ahmed Yar Khan, dated March 27, 1948 (under debatable circumstances) and accepted by Quadi-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, dated March 31, 1948.

Since Mr Syed has questioned the Baloch people’s claims on the their resources in the light of Articles 24 and 172 of the Constitution, it will not be out of place to bring to light Article 6 of the Instrument of Accession which says: “Nothing in this Instrument shall empower the Dominion Legislature (Pakistan) to make any law for this state (Kalat or Balochistan), authorizing the compulsory acquisition of land for any purpose, but I hereby undertake that should the Dominion for the purpose of a Dominion law which applies to this state deem it necessary to acquire any land, I will at their request acquire the land at their expense or if the land belongs to me transfer it to them on such terms as may be agreed, or, in default of agreement, determined by arbitrator to be appointed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

“The terms of this my Instrument of Accession should not be varied by any amendment unless such amendment is accepted by me by instrument supplementary to this Instrument.”

Baloch nationalists claim that after exploration of the natural gas at Sui in 1952, the Constitution was amended overnight without their consent, wherein natural resources were taken as federal government property.

Balochistan demanded the due share from the natural gas for the development of local area according to the provisions of the Indian Mining Act 1935 in vogue at that time, but no one listened to them.

In addition, it is not an issue limited to Dera Bugti. It is a sense of deprivation all over Balochistan that has caused the furore.

It is probably arrogance on our part that researchers, political scientists, sociologists and strategists have adapted a sort of a rock mentality and are not ready to see the other side of the picture.

Balochistan deserves serious attention of scholars like Prof Syed and others to diagnose the situation through in-depth research. One-sided contention will only add insult to the injury.

Via email

Writers response to my letter

‘Conflict in Dera Bugti’

MR Nizamuddin Nizamani (April 15) alleges that in my article, “Conflict in Dera Bugti” (April 10) I have “questioned the Baloch people’s claims to their resources in the light of Articles 24 and 172 of the Constitution”.

I have done no such thing. I have instead argued that the oil fields in the Dera Bugti area cannot be regarded as the personal property of Akbar Bugti or as the collective property of the Bugti tribe, and that they belong to the state.

The provinces are the constituent components of the state of Pakistan, and the word “state” therefore applies to them as well as to the federation. Article 172 says that any property which does not have a rightful owner belongs to the government of the province where it is located.

It is my view that oil, gas, and other mineral resources lying under the surface in Balochistan do, and should, belong to the province of Balochistan, which is functionally the same as the people of Balochistan.

Professor of Political Science
Herndon, VA, USA