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Reko Diq issue settled with BNP-M: Tarar

Law Minister Azam Tarar claimed that the Reko Diq issue had been resolved with the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M)

By News Desk
December 15, 2022
Reko Diq gold mine in Balochistan province of Pakistan. — Twitter
Reko Diq gold mine in Balochistan province of Pakistan. — Twitter

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Law Senator Azam Nazir Tarar Wednesday claimed that the Reko Diq issue had been resolved with the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M). 

Speaking in the Parliament House, Tarar said BNP-Mengal wanted to limit the Foreign Investment and Protection Bill to Reko Diq, adding that he was in touch with Sardar Akhtar Mengal and other coalition partners concerning the bill, local media reports.

On Tuesday, PDM Chairman and JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman and Balochistan National Party (BNP) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal expressed reservations about not taking them into confidence on the legislation concerning Reko Diq.

Fazl met Mengal in which matters pertaining to the overall political situation of the country and Balochistan came under discussion. In this regard, sources said both the leaders expressed concern over not being taken into confidence on the Reko Diq legislation and agreed to adopt a joint political strategy.

Meanwhile, Balochistan National Party Vice President Malik Wali Kakar Wednesday said their grievances had not been addressed by the federal government. He refuted Azam Nazir Tarar’s claim that the issue had been resolved and said the minister’s statement was contrary to the facts. He also said Federal Minister Ayaz Sadiq had sought time for a meeting, which would be agreed upon after consultation with his party. Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tried to allay the allies’ apprehensions. In his telephonic contact with Fazl and Mengal, the premier assured them that their reservations would be addressed.

Sources claimed that Mengal, who was considering parting ways with the ruling coalition, had summoned a meeting of BNP-M’s core committee to discuss the recent developments and future plan of action.

The former chief minister of Balochistan had also refused to support the Foreign Investment (Promotion and Protection) Bill, 2022 in the lower house of parliament. However, the ruling alliance, while apparently bulldozing the concerns raised by the allies, managed to take the parliament’s nod on the bill.

Last week, the apex court declared a new deal between a Canadian firm and the government on the Reko Diq project legal. A five-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, shared its opinion on a reference sent by President Arif Alvi.

Canadian company Barrick Gold, which ended a long-standing dispute with Pakistan in March last 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 safe.

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.