Ownership and Management of Natural Resources in Federal Systems: Challenges, Prospects and a Way Forward For Balochistan

Saubia Ramzan


In the perspective of divided societies, there has been a hot debate on the issue of natural resources where asymmetrical geographic distribution of natural resources corresponds with religious, socio-ethnic and linguistic divides. Such issues appear to be salient in the federal framework having a significant place in the decentralized systems. The management and provision of natural resources deal with the treatment of revenue and fiscal issues in the developed regions around the globe, whereas, in the developing part, natural resources are deemed as major source of wealth which leads towards the notion of an equitable shared national heritage. This gives rise to the increased autonomy over the natural resources from the local communities. The scaffold about the treatment of natural resources aggravates the conflicts among nations resulting in a strong ownership reaction by local communities in terms of development and revenue generation.

The core theme of this paper is concerned with the notion of ownership and management of natural resources in federal systems with reference to Balochistan province. The autonomy over natural resources has been debated in context of federal systems. Natural resources such as water, oil and gas, minerals, forests and fisheries have been considered as prime source of income generation. The weak governance of such resources and flux in the distribution of revenue lead towards identity-based differences among local communities. This theory caused a huge shift in the societies for economic integration and growth through autonomy over resources which eventually have paved the ways for opting greater responsibilities. On the other hand, the challenge to balance out the local interest for the significance of natural resources in connection to the overall national progression is faced by the governing bodies. The facts reflect that there are sufficient mineral deposits in Balochistan and optimum utilization can be made possible only by encouraging foreign capital investment and technology. The best solution for this is to remove the feeling of mistrust and unrealistic presumptions by granting autonomy to the masses and state of Balochistan. Most significant aspects are the availability of improved infrastructure and advance communication to the region and the matters relating to power generation projects must be handled by the provincial government so that the hidden potentials can be revealed by the province as a matter of priority.

The 18th amendment, its implementation and Balochistan Package appear to be an uncertain and complicated concern regarding provincial autonomy. The political, economic and administrative matters seem to be contaminated with the differences among masses of the province which has badly hampered the economic growth of the region. A mixed method research about the issue assisted to carry out a multidimensional analysis of the relevant facts about the issue. Data about allocation of natural resources and its analysis through a survey involving semi-structured interactive sessions of respondents and literature review turned up into some useful recommendations and a way-forward for the autonomy and management of natural resources in a true federal state. Various data collection techniques have been employed in order to study the variables by triangulation approach to substantiate the findings.

Keywords: Natural Resources, Ownership, Federal Systems, Balochistan, Control.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

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