Aaj English TV

Thursday, June 20, 2024  
13 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Akhter Mengal warns of parting ways with govt amid Reko Diq concerns

Says coalition govt should address BNP's reservations

Balochistan National Party-Mengal chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal, a key prtner of the PM Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government, warned of parting ways with the govt if BNP’s reservations over recent laws about the Reko Diq project were not addressed.

“The provincial government and the former federal government made an agreement with these companies on the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision,” Mengal said speaking on Aaj News programme Faisla Aap Ka with host Asma Shirazi. He claimed that Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudous Bizenjo came to him seeking help to resolve the ReKo Diq issue.

Last week a five-member bench of the Supreme Court, declared the new Reko Diq agreement, which was signed between the PTI-led federal government and two international firms in March this year for the revival of the long-stalled mining project, as legal as it issued its opinion on the presidential reference pertaining to the project case.

Canadian company Barrick Gold, which ended a long-standing dispute with Pakistan in March to strike a new agreement, earlier asked the federal government to get clearance from parliament and the country’s top court to make its investment in the project save. In its short verdict, the apex court observed that the government had signed the agreement after taking the Balochistan Assembly into confidence and consulting experts.

Mengal said that the owners of the land of Balochistan were the people of the province. “We should be given ownership instead of the allocated percentage,” the BNP leader said and added that such an agreement was not acceptable to them.

He said that his party’s alliance with the government was linked to the assurance that the rights of the people of Balochistan would be fully protected and the federal government was not violating the 18th Amendment.

Mengal said that he was not taken into confidence over Reko Diq legislation. “Even Maulana Fazlur Rehman was not consulted on it,” he added.

He called the Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Bill against the 18th Amendment.

A day earlier, the National Assembly passed the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Bill, 2022, which was also adopted by the Senate the same day with regard to Reko Diq, amid strong opposition from BNP-Mengal and JUI-F.

He regretted that those who claimed the credit for the 18th Amendment had surrendered.

Mengal said that the government should hold meeting with the coalition partners and address their reservations on the issue.

According to the media reports, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Mengal held a meeting earlier in the day to discuss the recent developments and future plan of action.

Both leaders expressed concern for not being taken into confidence over Reko Diq legislation, and agreed on adopting joint political strategy.

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