QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani has said the Supreme Court decision regarding cancellation of Reko Diq agreement proved very expensive to Balochistan, as the province will have to pay a fine of $6 billion imposed by the International Centre for Settlement on Investment Disputes (ICSID).
“We have lost Reko Diq case in both international court and ICSID,” said Mr Alyani while concluding a debate on an adjournment motion on the ICSID decision on Monday night.
The adjournment motion on Reko Diq was moved by opposition Balochistan National Party-Mengal lawmaker Sanaullah Baloch.
The chief minister said that in his opinion handing over the Reko Diq mining project to a nuclear scientist, Samar Mubarakmand, by the then provincial government was “completely a wrong decision” because he wasted Rs2 billion for purchasing some machinery, dumpers, vehicles and employing people on high salaries.
Mr Alyani said a nuclear scientist could not run copper and gold mine projects with little expertise in the relevant field. The scientist also had done the same with the Thar coal project but the then Sindh government immediately took back the project and awarded its contract to German and Chinese companies, he said.
Currently, he added, the Thar coal project was producing 600-megawatt electricity.
The chief minister reiterated that wrong decisions and polices of the former Balochistan governments caused the province to pay $6bn penalty as imposed by the ICSID.
He said many debates and resolutions were initiated over Reko Diq in past assemblies but they yielded nothing but emotional speeches and hollow slogans.
He said both the federal and provincial governments were making efforts to find a way out to pay the huge amount of fine. He then questioned the lawmakers in the house if the cancellation of Reko-Diq agreement was a good decision.
The CM claimed that his government had nothing to do with the Reko Diq deal, but he could assure the house that his government would not make any agreement or take any decision that could cause loss to Balochistan and its people.
Referring to the Engineers Grand Alliance protest, Mr Alyani said the government didn’t expect such reaction from the educated people. One could not hold the provincial government solely responsible for the situation where three million people were jobless, he said.
The CM said: “Instead of locking down government offices, serving engineers should have approached the Senate’s standing committee and opposition members. But XENs don’t have the right to stage protests along with unemployed engineers.”
The BNP-M lawmaker, who had moved the adjournment motion, said international powers had been looking toward Balochistan’s natural resources yet the regimes here didn’t exercise prudence to secure them.
“A decision was taken in 2010 to reprieve Reko Diq’s resources at the national level and the economic committee in Islamabad approved Rs1.6 billion for copper and gold project but the purchased machinery was never brought into use. Now the government has been thinking to hand over the expensive machinery to the local government,” Mr Baloch said, demanding legal against the bureaucrats and other individuals involved in harming Balochistan’s resources.
Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2019