Gas Fields in Balochistan
As a policy of government of Pakistan to explore different places in search of discovering oil and gas, one such spot was earmarked in Dera Bugti area of Baluchistan. The location of the exploration well was based on seismic findings, at a hilltop in rough terrain of area inhabited by people from Mari tribe. It was at a distance of about 40 kilometers from Sui, a small village in Baluchistan at the confluence of Sindh, Baluchistan and Punjab provinces.
Sui Gas Fields in Balochistan
This is the place from where we get Sui gas, and the name of this gas which we have been using in our kitchens for many decades, is derived from this village. Natural gas was discovered at this place as early as in 1952. After laying necessary pipelines by the sponsors of this project (Pakistan petroleum limited, a joint venture of government of Pakistan and a multi-national company), the gas was produced on commercial basis in 1955, and is continuing to produce gas from that time until this day.
Pikoh Gas Field Balochistan
Subsequently, another gas field was discovered in Pirkoh, adjacent to Sui. It is interesting that we have named natural gas as sui gas in spite of the fact that gas is produced at many other places of the country. Even if the gas that we get is from Sari or Hundi gas fields, we still call it Sui gas. This has become a brand name of natural gas that we use for cooking in Pakistan. The seismic findings were not only the reason for exploration of petrol here. The Bhutto government wanted to open up and develop the area of Mari tribe. I will come to this part to discuss more about it, in my subsequent paragraphs.
FWO Frontier Works Organization – A Subsidiary of Pakistan Army
I was called by Dr Shahzad Sadiq to plan and develop a fair weather un-metaled access road leading to the well-site on top of a hill. Due to rough and rugged terrain far away in mountainous area, it was difficult to build this road departmentally and so it was entrusted to frontier works organization (FWO), a subsidiary of Pakistan army. On a routine check to supervise and to ascertain the progress of work, I asked FWO to arrange for my tour. I was escorted by a Captain of army along with some of his staff, in two army vehicles from Islamabad and my movement was regularly reported to the military higher ups. This was a unique experience of my life.
Arrival in Dera Bugti Balochistan Camp Office
On our arrival at their camp office in Dera Bugti, we were warmly received by Captain Qamar who seemed to have made special arrangements for me. Qamar was a Petarian from Latif house and was two years junior to me. I had to stay for a day in this camp, as my movement to the exploration site was to be cleared by core commander Quetta. I was informed by Capt. Qamar that Lieutenant General Alam Jaan Mahsud, who was adjutant during our days in Petaro, was the core commander Quetta, and he was also informed about me of being an old Petarian.
My visit was meticulously arranged and looking at the arrangements made for me, it appeared to me that we were in a war-torn country and in an enemy territory. I was astonished to see the pathetic condition of people in that area, and it appeared as if they were living in stone age oblivious of any civilization. I further learnt that many of these people from Mari tribe had never gone outside the precincts of their mountain and had no idea of what was happening in the world. They were deliberately kept aloof by the chief of their clan, who would meet them once a year, take charge of their livestock and give them provision items of food, wheat, rice etc., barely enough to take care of their basic needs and food requirements.
Provide Jobs to Baloch People in Balochistan
Bhutto was aware of the fact that major part of Baluchistan lacked basic facilities of civilization, and I am a witness to have physically seen these conditions there. The people could only speak Balochi language. There were no schools and no hospitals. If anybody fell ill, he would either recover through his natural body resistance, or die a natural death without ever getting any medicine or getting in touch with any doctor. I was wondering this might have been the lifestyle during the days of Adam and Eve. Bhutto had directed Dr. Shahzad Sadiq that whether we were able to find any petrol or gas there, we should develop that area, provide jobs to these local people and give them access to rub shoulders with civilized segment of our society.
Gas Fields in Balochistan