QUETTA: The Balochistan Chief Minister on Tuesday proposed that the Reko Diq mining area be declared an Export Processing Zone on the request of Balochistan Government and the Export Processing Authority.
The Balochistan Government is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Export Processing Zone Authority in this regard soon. Samar Mubarakmand had informed Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani of the development during a meeting of the Board of Governors of Reko Diq Project in Islamabad. Rasani is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Reko Diq Copper and Gold Project.
The Chief Minister pledged to use the sovereign right of the people of Balochistan in ensuring the implementation of the plan to exploit copper and gold for the benefit of the people of Balochistan.
“Whether we remain in government or not, we will leave a valuable asset and a gift for the people of Balochistan and Pakistan in the shape of Reko Diq Copper and Gold Project,” the Chief Minister declared. “It will remain a gift for the people of Balochistan,” hinting at perhaps a continued longevity of the project which may remain unaffected by any change in the Chief Minister House on Zarghun Road.
Raisani said that he had experienced and bore tremendous pressure from various quarters to defend the sovereign right of the people of Balochistan on this Project. He said he and his colleagues would never surrender to those pressures, taking a jibe at the international arbitration to which the Reko Diq is now subject to.
“There was a pressure and demand that we sell this vital economic and prestigious project at a throw away price to interested parties which we refused,” Nawab Raisani said, adding,” some people from the surroundings also tried to create trouble for the Provincial Government and we frustrated all evil designs in this connection.”
Nawab Raisani disclosed that international forces were also opposed to the plan that Balochistan Government operates the project for which they used different means and pressure tactics against the Government. “The project will allow Pakistan to stand on its economic feet without foreign assistance or charity,” he added.
He said that all those elements constantly criticising the government should also appreciate the good work done including the decision to operate Reko Diq Copper and Gold Project in the public sector and not to sell it to a foreign company.
As Chairman of the Board of Governors, Nawab Raisani approved decisions of the past meeting. He also approved a budget of Rs1.8 billion of the project and the revised policy to recruit competent and technical people on various posts.
The Government of Balochistan had also approved the decision to use sub-soil water from the Upper reaches of Tal Ap from where water for the project would be fetched and used.
Dr Samar Mubarakmand also briefed the Chief Minister on the progress so far made on the project. The Geological Survey of Pakistan had pledged to help train manpower for carrying out a drilling survey of the mining areas of the Reko Diq Project. Raisani was also told that the applications received for technical staff were being processed. Chief Minister issued instructions that all recruitment should be made purely on merit and the local people should be given preference over others.
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