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Plea for Re-Negotiating Reko Diq Deal

Posted by yourpakistan on November 9, 2010

The Supreme Court has been requested via a petition to order the federal and provincial governments to renegotiate the Reko Diq mining contract, set to expire in the last week of this month, in favour of the country instead of the mining firm. Terming the sale of Reko Diq mines as the last chance for saving the country from “foreign exploiters”, the petitioner said that Pakistan should get an 80 per cent share and the mining company’s share should not exceed 20 per cent. The request was made in a petition filed in the Lahore registry of the Supreme Court by the Punjab president of the Watan Party, Hashim Shaukat Khan.

Barrister Zafarullah Khan, the petitioner’s counsel, quoted Khan as saying that corporate bosses of two of the largest mining groups in the world have been holding meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and the State Bank governor, pressing them to “quietly and quickly” hand over Balochistan’s vast mineral treasure “worth over $3 trillion”.
Over the years, he said, so many “games” have been played with national assets and so many public enterprise units have been sold for “peanuts” that the soundness of national economy has been completely eroded, which has resulted in bankruptcy of the national treasury, starvation and loss of sovereignty.

He said venal politicians and bureaucrats were serving their personal interests by selling the country’s natural wealth at such cheap rates. Highlighting mismanagement in the project since the process started during the Musharraf regime, he said that when the PPP-led coalition government realised the stakes involved in the project, Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani and the federal government quickly jumped into the fray to re-negotiate the deal behind closed doors.

Unfortunately, he said, a steering committee, formed about 18 months ago, had no knowledge about the mining deal and no meeting was held regarding the Reko Diq mines. The petitioner requested the court to set aside all non-transparent deals and negotiations in connection with Reko Diq mines with foreign multinational companies.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2010.


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