It has been said several a times that good job opportunities and proper education can make a difference in FATA regain its peace but due to lack of many amenities, the localities are compelled to support and join none state actors. FATA is like an unexplored heaven that is highly enriched with mineral resources but unfortunately like all other sectors, this area has also been ignored by the governments. FATA had not just faced discrimination in education, development and in management of law and order situations since creation but has also never been explored for its natural resources by the governments.
While talking about the resources and minerals it is estimated that Bajaur has 130 tons of lime stone reserves while Khyber agency alone has 453,932 tons of it. These areas are also highly rich in coal and it is estimated that 178,370 tons of coal reserves are in Orakzai, Kurram and NWA. A local industrial manager said, “We have enough coal to fulfill our country needs and enough to export it”.
The mines of Marble and Granite are likely to have good potential for growth. And with huge reserves of eminently valued marble including white marble, are in abundance in Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber and NWA alone with a total of 570519 ton reserves. If this industry is given proper government attention and the project designed are properly implemented, they can provide job opportunities to several thousands of individual living here.
“Of course if people will not have jobs they will use other methods to have money, no one can ignore family needs”, said Raheem a local man from Khyber agency.
But due to the ongoing stressful security situation and operations being conducted that have resulted in unprecedented crisis, the already men on job with a total of 2,000 in marble industry have lost their jobs as the industries are not working.
“It is not just that we have lost our jobs and homes; we have lost our families.” A resident Ayub from Bajaur agency said. “The children who are lost, have even lost their identities and they will spend their lives without knowing who they are!” he added.
Like Baluchistan which is a hot hub for natural resources, FATA has also been kept aloof regarding development for various known unknown reasons. Geologists have indicated that this region is also enriched in availability of venerated and semi venerated gem stones. Emerald and tourmaline are found in the north while garnet and quartz are found in South Waziristan and Bajaur. But due to lack of exploration their reserves have not been properly identified. Similarly it is estimated that copper reserves are in North Waziristan with a total of 35million tones.
In the wake of prevailing uncertainty though the government is short of resources to start new projects but if only the already available resources are provided with proper professional assistance they can contribute a lot to reduce what is called, “lack of job opportunities”. The availability of such huge reserves can contribute a lot in economic maturation of the country; when again it is facing a downsizing trend since the installment of new government. Proper government assistance will not only help the locals regain jobs but would also help in restoring peace and stability.