QUETTA: Members of the Balochistan Assembly both from treasury and opposition benches have called upon the federal government to take the provincial government and the province’s political leadership into confidence on the Saudi plan for establishing an oil refinery in Gwadar.
During a session of the assembly, which was presided over by Deputy Speaker Sardar Babar Khan Musakhail, on Thursday, they said no agreement would be accepted if the provincial government and the political leadership were ignored in decision-making about initiating new development projects in the province.
The issue was taken up by opposition member Sana Baloch on a calling attention notice.
Mr Baloch asked the minister for Gwadar Development Authority to inform the house about the place where the proposed oil refinery would be established and on what condition land would be provided to the Saudi government in Pasni or Gwadar.
He said the federal government should take the Balochistan people into confidence about the oil refinery’s plan and inform them about the importance of the project, its possible environmental impact and the benefits they might get from the project, such as job opportunities.
Mr Baloch said that this assembly wanted to send a message to a delegation of Saudi Arabia arriving in Pakistan for a two-day visit under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman that the elected representatives of Balochistan were well informed about the rich natural resources and importance of ports of their province and that they would not accept any development project which would be against the will and desire of this province’s people.
He said that the assembly should be informed whether land for establishing the oil refinery would be given on lease or on the basis of a partnership. “We will welcome giving land on the basis of partnership because through it Balochistan will get a huge amount annually,” he said, adding that giving land on the basis of friendship was not acceptable.
He said that youths of Balochistan had great expectations from the province’s elected representatives and they would not disappoint them.
Speaking on the matter, provincial Minister for Agriculture Engineer Zamarak Khan Piralizai supported Mr Baloch’s stand and announced that the government and the opposition would not compromise on the rights of Balochistan.
Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2019