Thar Coal Politics

Conflicting News about Thar Coal in Business Recorder – Thar Coal Politics

by: Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA

The politics surrounding the Thar Coal continues to confound Sindhis and other Pakistanis. Only two days ago (May 21), the newspaper Business Recorder, which is published from Karachi, said that the World Bank had withdrawn support for the Thar Coal project. Today, comes another story in the same newspaper saying that the World Bank will support the Thar Coal project. It seems that there is some manipulation going on once again in an attempt to gain control for the central government over this important asset of Sindh.

It must be noted that other than oil and gas, where Pakistani constitution requies shared control, Coal is exclusively under provincial jurisdiction.

Let us watch out if there is another attempt to transfer the control of Thar coal resource to the federal government. It appears that the current attempt is to fool Sindhis that a Sindhi (Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh) would run this project. This is very much like a usual trick of Pakistani establishment, through which intuitional control of key assets of Sindh are secured first by appointing one or more Sindhis as the leaders of the federal institution that gains control to fend of strong political opposition. Later on, when the political climate is right, the establishment generally gets rid of those Sindhi leaders and bring in their favorites to round-off full control until that resource is depleted. This is the same story that is happening to Sindh’s oil and gas resources. Now that both oil and gas resources are at the trailing end, the federal government is showing some generosity in sharing the control of these resources with provinces.

Every day, there is a new trick and new game-plan. We need to be vigilant and be steady fast to thwart all evil designs on Sindh’s resources.

May 23, 2010

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