QUETTA: Former chief minister of Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani has claimed that his government was ousted because he refused to compromise on the issue of Reko Diq project.

Talking to newsmen at his residence during a dinner hosted for the newly-elected officer bearers of the Balochistan Union of Journalists, he said Balochistan had enough capacity to run the Reko Diq Copper-cum-Gold Project as it possessed experienced metallurgical engineers and other experts who had knowledge of surface mining.

“I am not satisfied with the decisions being taken regarding the revival of the Reko Diq project,” Nawab Raisani said, adding that his coalition government did not refuse to hold talks with the company working on the project at that time.

“Our doors were open for talks on the issue of Reko Diq and our main condition was that the company should establish a re­­finery in the province under the Balochistan mining rules for which they did not agree.”

He said there were many loopholes in the earlier agreement signed with foreign companies working on the Reko Diq project.

“The survival of the future generations of Balochistan is dependent on Reko Diq gold reserves. The company instead of satisfying the government went to the Sup­re­­me Court and later the case reached the International Court of Justice and a fine of $6 billion was imposed on Balochistan which, I think, is a drama.”

The ex-CM said the then provincial government set up the Balochistan Copper and Gold Mining Company, planned mining and refinery in the public sector, set up a power house, lab and residential colony and “we have more advanced training in the mineral sector than other countries. There were a large number of experts. We tried to get the Balochistan government to work on the project itself”. He said the government had allocated Rs4 billion which it got in the NFC Award from outstanding gas development surcharge dues and had a plan to increase funds for the project every year.

“Now the people should draw conclusions by comparing the government of 2008 and subsequent governments in this regard.”

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2022

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