As the drama related to Reko Diq unfolds, the poor and deprived people of Balochistan remain hopeful that the precious resources will be used to their benefit.
Reko Diq is a town located in the Chagai district of Pakistan. This town contains gold and cooper reserves which are estimated to value over $260 billion. In 1993, the exploration and extraction license of these mines were given to Tethyan Copper Company (TCC). In 2011, Government of Balochistan cancelled the contract of TCC and now TCC has claimed for damages in the International Court of Justice.
Dr. Shahid Masood, a renowned analyst, had alleged that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Balochistan Dr. Malik Baloch, member of National Assembly Mahmood Achakzai and Senator Hasil Bizenjo are contemplating huge kickbacks in an illicit settlement with TCC in the Reko Diq deal.
A press conference was held by Dr. Malik Baloch in which he rejected allegations of alleged corruption in Reko Diq.
Dr. Malik said that “I will not sell a stone of Balochistan; Reko Diq is something very big.” He also announced to send a defamation notice to Dr. Shahid Masood.
Reacting to the press conference of Dr. Malik, Dr. Shahid Masood cleared that his allegations about kickbacks in Reko Diq deal with Tethyan Copper Company was a pre-emptive story. He said that he stands by his allegations and would respond to any defamation notice sent by the chief minister.
Nawab Aslam Raisani, former chief minister of Balochistan, said that the son of a top leader in government has finalized the deal on Reko Diq. He also supported the allegation that massive irregularities are expected in the forthcoming Reko Diq deal.
“I was the one who cancelled the contract of TCC and saved Reko Diq from exploitation and as a result I had to face a suicide blast and my government was toppled unconstitutionally,” added the former chief minister.
Balochistan National Party (BNP) has said in a statement that “We will resist any move to sell Reko Diq to foreign companies against the interests of Balochistan.” BNP also announced to hold a protest demonstration against alleged corruption in Reko Diq on December 18.
Molana Abdul Wasay, opposition leader in Balochistan Assembly, said that if an unfair deal is made on Reko Diq then his party will challenge it in the International Court of Justice. “If CM is not making a secret deal on Reko Diq then why is he going to London with certain people who have no business with Balochistan government,” asked Mr. Wasay.
As the drama related to Reko Diq unfolds, the poor and deprived people of Balochistan still have hopes that the precious minerals found in their provinces will be used for their benefit some time in future.
Adnan Aamir is a freelance researcher, analyst and columnist. Adnan is also editor of The Balochistan Point, an online newspaper from Pakistan. Follow him on Twitter @iAdnanAamir and visit his blog www.adnan-aamir.com. Read other articles by Adnan.