Supreme Court of Pakistan. — AFP photo/File

ISLAMABAD: Rubina Shah Noahtani, a female representative of Syed Balanoshi Noahtani Sadaat tribe, inhibiting the Chaghi district of Balochistan province, on Monday vigorously contended before the Supreme Court that former president general (Retd) Pervez Musharraf had played havoc with the province’s precious resources by reaching unilateral agreements with foreign companies like Reko Diq mining lease.

She was appearing before a three-member bench of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed on the pending issue of grant of mining lease over exploration of gold and copper reserves in the Reko Diq area.

In response to a permission granted by the bench to hear her brief contentions, she, in her extempore address, said that the foreign company Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) had caused severe threat to the wild life and created environmental hazards in the last 20 years with usage of lethal cyanide gas during the chemical process.

Rubina said the Noahtani tribe is consisted 25,000 tribesmen, and shares the precious metal rich area. She demanded they should be given royalty and compensation.

She said that the tribe has 600-year old documentary record of the land but the Musharraf's regime had reached the agreement with a foreign company, ignoring concerns of the local community.

She claimed the TCC have captured 10,000 acre land of their ancestors, adding they were not against the development of the area but the agreement should be executed by involving the local community.

The foreign companies should also trickle down the benefits of the huge projects to the local populace, she added.

Expressing her confidence in the apex court, she pleaded that the court would protect rights of the people as they were suffering from deprivation and exploitation.

She also vowed that the residents of the province would not surrender their rights to foreign entities over the natural resources.

The bench adjourned further hearing to Tuesday by advising Khalid Anwar, counsel for TCCP, to conclude his arguments by then.

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