Mineral development and State’s doctrine

According to media reports, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to set up a Minerals Development Company to boost the mineral sector on modern lines and to encourage the private sector for joint ventures with the government to exploit the hidden potentials of the province to the optimum level. According to details, a proposed law has been drafted for approval by the competent authority. Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mahmood Khan chaired a high-level meeting on Monday who deliberated on the issue and decided to set up a government entity to explore the valuable reserves in the province. As reported, the Chief Minister has directed the concerned authorities to expedite the setting up of Mines and Minerals Development Company, so the revenue of the province could be increased by effective utilization of mineral resources of the province. According to reports, the Chief Minister also directed the aides to fully utilize the precious minerals by encouraging private sector investment through public-private partnership during the coming months.
Like other parts of the country, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is full of natural resources including precious stones, oil, gas, forests, water basins, and others coupled with multiple seasons and a healthy environment, which are helpful for the realization of these valuable reserves. However, as a nation, we failed to utilize such hidden wealth because of incompetence and mismanagement on the part of the provincial governments and the center. Reko Deq dispute, untapped Chiniot Iron ore, and Kalabagh iron reserves are examples of such weaknesses. There is a dire need for the approval of the Natural Resource Management (NRM) framework at the provincial and federal levels to successfully realize these resources while protecting the environment, ecology, and social life in the area. According to experts, public-private partnership is essential for effective control of the government, however, the government’s involvement through a state-owned company could lead to mismanagement, theft, nepotism, and misuse of resources by the government machinery in the long term. Therefore, the regulatory role of the government institutions will prove its worth in full utilization and management of the resources instead of the creation of an entity.