Wednesday Dec 29, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Wednesday the federal government would bear the financial burden for the development of the Reko Diq copper and gold mining project in Balochistan.
In a tweet, the prime minister said the decision to bear the financial burden on the behalf of the Balochistan government was taken in line with the Centre's vision for the uplift of smaller provinces.
The premier further said the step would help usher in an era of prosperity for the people and province.
In a statement after the prime minister's announcement, Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo welcomed the development and thanked the premier.
The premier's announcement comes after CM Balochistan rejected Opposition parties' allegations of the provincial government signing a "secret deal" on the copper and gold mining project.
The chief minister, speaking to journalists after inaugurating the first parking plaza in Quetta, said Balochistan Assembly's lawmakers were given an in-camera briefing on the matter, and in case of a new deal, the rights of the province would be defended.
Bizenjo claimed nothing was hidden from the lawmakers, as he noted that after Pakistan had lost the Reko Diq case in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), heavy fines were imposed on the federal and Balochistan governments.
The chief minister was referring to a session of the Balochistan Assembly, which was held on Monday, to give an in-camera briefing to the lawmakers belonging from treasury and Opposition benches, Dawn reported.
Speaking after the session, a Balochistan government spokesman said: "Provincial lawmakers were also apprised of the verdicts given by international institutions about Reko Diq and the progress on their implementation.”
The session was called after a joint resolution adopted in the last session demanded that an in-camera briefing be given to members of the Balochistan Assembly on the Reko Diq agreement.
The resolution said that the federation cannot negotiate an agreement on Reko Dik after the 18th Amendment.
Pakistan had lost the Reko Diq case in the ICSID in 2019 against Australia-based company, Tethyan Copper Company Pty Limited (TCC), which sued the country in the ICSID based on the 1998 Pakistan Australia Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).