Natural resources of Pakistan:
Natural resources of a country are imperative for its economic well-being. The term natural resources apply to the resources endowed by nature in addition to the factors that help in the production of wealth and in the economic growth. Natural resources include such sources as, manpower, rivers, seas, mountains, forests, minerals, animal sources and mineral resources. The natural resources of Pakistan are briefly explained in the following passages
Pakistan’s economy is basically dependent on its agricultural development, which is interlinked with the nature of available soil. Around 22% of Pakistan’s GDP comes from the agricultural sector whereas 44% of labour force is employed in labour sector. Fertility of land increases agricultural GDP while barren land stands obstruction to this end. In Pakistan, all types of soil exist while fertile land is also considerably vast. Those lands are comparatively more fertile to which the rivers provide new earth during the rainy season. Nevertheless, the ratio of land under cultivation is low. At present it total length is about to 290 lakh acres. Vast tracts of land in Sindh and Punjab are under Salinity while some parts are desert like Sandy. In mountainous regions of the North, the soil is rocky, and is unsuitable for cultivation. It is the interest of the agricultural development of Pakistan that maximum areas of land should be brought under cultivation and modern techniques employed to increase the output. Proper steps should be taken to eliminate all diseases of the crops as well as that of soil. However, regrettably the government instead of facilitating the agricultural sector has given a free hand to housing societies that are developing housing schemes on fertile agricultural land which is adversely affecting crop production and thus may cause food crisis in future.
The importance of forest in economic development and for the elimination of environmental pollution cannot be underestimated. In the opinion of economic experts, forests should cover at least one fourth of the total area of the country. Keeping in view this requirement, Pakistan suffers from the lack of forests. Moreover, the ratio of different areas in respect of forests, is sharply variant. Some of the regions have sufficient forests while large areas are conspicuous by the absence of vegetation and green belts. For instance, in mountainous regions where ratio of rainfall is high forests are found in abundance but in desert lands no vegetation is visible.
Successive governments paid due attention to the promotion of forests. From time to time tree plantation weeks are observed for encouraging people to plant trees. Pursuing this objective, government has ordered the plantation of trees on roadsides and near railway tracks. In the villages, cooperative societies are encouraged to pursue this goal. The Forest service has been organised on scientific lines. For the proper maintenance of available forests, the government has made proper arrangements for imparting technical training to the Forest Service Personnel. Forest College and Research Institute was established in Peshawar in order to promote research in this field.
Mineral resources enrich a country’s economy and industrial development is largely dependent on the available of mineral reservoirs. Abundance of mineral resources in America and Europe performed effective role in industrial and technological advancements of these countries.
Utilisation of all the natural resources is indispensable for the economic build up of Pakistan. The government has of course made all possible efforts especially in the search of oil fields and entered into agreements with foreign firms. Future prospects are bright and it is expected that the day is not far when Pakistan will be approaching the stage of self-sufficiency in this context. A brief sketch regarding the available mineral resources is given below:
Coal falls under the category of power resources as well, as it generates power in addition to its use as fuel. Pakistan’s economy is handicapped by the non-availability of sufficient coal of good quality. The quantity available from Pakistan’s mines is below standard, and it is imported from other countries. Nevertheless, coal reservoirs are found in Dandot and Makarwal in Punjab in Baluchistan at Deegari Sharig and Soer. Apart from Thatta and Manara, coal reservoirs have also been discovered in Tharparkar.
Petrol is the backbone of transportation system and its by products hold much significance in industrial sector. The quantity of oil produced from Pakistani reservoirs is insufficient to meet the country’s ever-growing needs. Import of large quantity of oil absorbs a huge amount of our foreign exchange. Oil and gas corporations have made all possible efforts to dig new wells and promote research in this field and the results are encouraging. In Pakistan, oil reservoirs are found in Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Mianwali, Attock, D.G Khan.
Availability of iron is equally imperative like oil and coal for industrial advancement. In Pakistan, the supply of Iron from countries own reservoir is very limited and is too short for its actual needs. Approximately 80% of its total consumption has to be imported from other countries. The iron available from mines of Sargodha, Mianwali, Mardan, Chitral and Quetta is sub-standard and cannot be used in the manufacturing of sophisticated items.
Sulphur is very useful for the chemical industry. Quantity of sulphur are available in Pakistan, is found largely in Baluchistan while its refineries are established in quieter and Karachi. It reservoirs are also found in Kalat, Khairpur, Mardan and Jacobabad. It is to be noted that a small amount of sulphur is also produced from Sui gas.
Pakistan is fully self-sufficient in rock salt deposits; rather its export provides the country an important source of earning foreign exchange. Salt mines are found on large scale in Khewra, Kohat, Kalabagh and Tharparkar.
It is an important metal used in the preparation of different other metals and in hardening and refining of ores, leather tanning, manufacturing of steel goods, chemicals etc. it is also used in the manufacturing of armaments, stainless steel etc. It’s reservoirs are found at Hindu Bagh, Chaghi in Baluchistan, Waziristan and Pisheen.
Gypsum is a stone which is used in the preparation of plaster of Paris and paints in addition to its use in the cement industry. Sufficient deposits of gypsum are found at different places in Punjab, Baluchistan and Kalat.
A sedimentary rock of calcium carbonate is useful in cement industry, construction of buildings, roads and in glass industry. It is available in large quantity in Kohat, Karachi, Kalabagh and in some regions of Sindh.
During search of all reservoirs in 1952, huge quantity of gas reserves was discovered at Sui in Baluchistan which has been estimated at nearly 60 trillion feet. It has provided the country a very useful substitute of oil and coal. It is being supplied as fuel for domestic use in big cities while the trend of its use in the industrial field is also growing fast. It is used in various industries such as fertilisers, rayon, plastic, resin etc. Sui Transmission Company was established in 1955, entrusted with the huge task of gas supply. Recently gas reservoirs have been discovered at Pirkoh and in the vicinity of Gujjar Khan.
Animal resources of the country are regarded important in its national wealth. Animals are source of providing milk and meat and in certain backward areas still used in cultivation. As our agrarian system has not been fully mechanised, animals are used for many purposes such as irrigation from animal driven wells, extraction of juice of sugarcane in addition to the ploughing of fields.
Meat and milk items of the animals constitute major part of human food. Poultry has also become a popular trade with eggs provide a useful source of food energy. Animals are indirectly helpful in the promotion of certain industries for example, skin of animals is the backbone of tanneries; bones are used in the production of fertilisers and sugar while wool of sheep is used in the woollen factories for preparing winter suitings.
Pakistan is, of course, rich and animal resources as the fodder are available in abundance. Variety of animals found in Pakistan comprises of Cow, Buffalo, Horse, Donkey, Sheep, Goat, Camel, Fish, Hens and other birds.
On the coastal line and on the riverside is a vast population earns living on fish hunting. Seafood has rich diet value and is the source of maximum protein. Hence meet shortage can be met by the supply of fish. Export of fish constitutes a major source of earning foreign exchange. The government has adopted measures for patronising this trade, and a separate, Department of fisheries work under agriculture Ministry, invested with the task of promoting fisheries in coastal areas. A dock has been prepared near Karachi harbour from where a huge quantity of fish is exported.