Rejecting neighbouring Balochistan’s recent claim over a more than 200,000-acre minerals-rich land in the remote Kirthar mountain range, the provincial government has maintained that the said territory is situated within the jurisdiction of Sindh’s Qambar Shahdadkot district.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said the government of Balochistan should immediately renounce its claim on 248,000 acres of land in the Kirthar mountain range because the land rich in mineral resources was an integral part of Sindh.
“A press conference was held in Balochistan to make claim on this area of Sindh and an impression has been created as if the mineral resources of the areas are under the undue occupation of Sindh. Such a claim and impression from Balochistan is totally false,” said Khuhro.
The disputed land called Kutte ji Qabar in Sindhi (meaning Dog’s grave), located in the Kirthar mountains range straddling Balochistan and Sindh, could cause a serious inter-provincial dispute between the governments of Sindh and Balochistan, involving tribal chieftains from both sides having high political stakes and influence in the area.
In Wednesday’s press conference, Khuhro, who is the president of the Sindh chapter of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, was accompanied by Nawab Ghaibi Sardar Khan Chandio, a PPP MPA, who belongs to the disputed area.
Khuhro told reporters that the land in question has historically remained part of Sindh and it would continue to be part of Sindh, so Balochistan should immediately withdraw its claim on the territory.
“We smaller provinces are indeed friends with each other but we will never compromise on our boundaries and territories as we would not let anyone grab even an inch of our land,” the minister said.
Brandishing gazette notifications and area maps dating as far back as 1876, Khuhro said that the land in question was situated at an elevation of 6,880 feet and was at an altitude even higher than the famous Gorakh Hill Station of Dadu district. According to him, that area of the Kirthar mountain range had been declared part of the Qambar Shahdadkot district.
He further said that the Sindh government would correspond with the Balochistan government on the issue as it has sensed that a territorial dispute between the two provinces was unduly being created on the basis of an already settled issue.
“The Balochistan government has constituted a three-member committee on the issue. It’s no matter, the committee should continue with its work but Sindh would not budge from even a single inch of its land as it surely belongs to Sindh,” he said.
“It is our earnest request to our friends in Balochistan to withdraw from this issue in order to avoid any fresh controversy on an undue basis,” Khuhro said. “Sindh neither attacked it nor occupied the minerals of the said area as it is being claimed by Balochistan.”
The constituency’s MPA Chandio said that Kutte ji Qabar has a historical significance as it has been a part of Sindh since the time of British colonial period. He said Balochistan’s claim on the land was beyond comprehension. “Such attempts were also made in the past, but we do have the maps of the Survey of Pakistan with us,” the lawmaker said to make his case.
“This land belongs to the Sindh government as it was declared situated within the territorial jurisdiction of Sindh since the time of the Khan of Kalat. We will not let anybody take over the land of Sindh as part of its tribal belt,” Chandio added.