International Politics

Balochistan: Political Parties Protest Against Legislation On Reko Diq Deal

Balochistan Protests

Balochistan National Party-Mengal and National Party held separate demonstrations in Balochistan province against the bill passed on the Reko Diq Copper-gold project

Balochistan [Pakistan]: Balochistan National Party-Mengal and National Party held separate demonstrations in Quetta and another part of Balochistan province against the bill passed on the Reko Diq Copper-gold project, Dawn reported.

The participants of the BNP-M rally marched on the streets with banners inscribed with their demands. The protesters chanted slogans against the deal and demanded the recognition of sovereignty and rights of the Baloch people over the coastline of Balochistan. The participants of the public meeting also approved a resolution that said that the Reko Diq project bill passed by the parliament had ignored the will of the masses of the province which would not be accepted at any cost.

The resolution said that under the bill all powers of the Balochistan government had been given to the federal government bypassing the local people and this process was a clear violation of the country’s laws, Constitution, and the 18th amendment, according to Dawn.
The protesters said that defending every inch of Balochistan was part of “our national responsibility and duty because this land is our motherland and we will not allow our identity to be erased under any circumstances”.

They threatened that if the legislation passed in the dark of the night regarding Reko Diq was not withdrawn and Balochistan people were not considered as the heir of mineral and other resources of Balochistan then the BNP-M would take a tough decision in this regard.
Meanwhile, the National Party also held its rallies in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan separately but on the same issue opposing the agreement reached between federal and provincial governments with Canadian company Barrick Gold Corporation, as per the Dawn report.

Earlier, The JUI-F and the BNP-M members protested that they were not taken into confidence on the issue. The government, however, assured the members that their doubts were valid and would be addressed.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif that the government of Pakistan would ensure the protection of the rights of investors in all the investment projects, including the Reko Diq project, and all the promises made to them would be fulfilled, according to a report in The Express Tribune.

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The report said the cabinet was informed that a presidential reference was filed in the Supreme Court under Article 186 of the Constitution for a legal opinion on the final agreements. The court gave its opinion on December 9, saying that the restructuring process was transparent.

A five-member cabinet committee was formed to remove some legal obstacles and hold talks with the leaders of the coalition parties, to address their concerns. The committee comprised Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, Law Minister Azam Tarar, and Economic Affairs Minister Ayaz Sadiq. The committee decided that an amendment would be made in consultation with the concerned parties.

After a long discussion, the ministers approved the signing of the final agreements for restructuring the Reko Diq project on the recommendation of the Petroleum Division. The cabinet also approved the project funding plan passed by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, reported The Express Tribune.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by HW News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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