14 December 2022
By Rehan Pracha
LAHORE: Political parties in Balochistan have expressed serious concerns about the federal government’s failure to take into account the legislation related to the Reko Diq mine and have termed this law as the beginning of the end of the Eighteenth Amendment related to provincial autonomy.
President Arif Alvi approved the Foreign Investment (Promotion and Protection) Act 2022 related to Reko Diq agreement on December 13, after which this law has come into force in the country.
Reacting to this in a talk show, Balochistan National Party Chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal likened the legislation related to Reko Diq as the beginning of the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment.
Expressing his concerns, Akhtar Mengal noted that both JUI and BNP had walked out of the federal cabinet meeting. He further indicated the intention to separate from the federal government on the issue and called for a party meeting.
Senator Kamran Murtaza of JUI, the other coalition party of the government, said that the bill was passed by force and deception in favour of the Reko Diq project.
Akhtar Mengal further said that there has been no progress in the negotiations with the committee formed by the Prime Minister and expressed regret over the fact that the Sindh Assembly also passed a resolution regarding the Reko Diq Bill, which is against the Eighteenth Amendment.
In the Balochistan Assembly, members of the opposition parties continued to protest against the two constitutional resolutions passed by the Provincial Assembly on December 10 with reference to the Reko Diq Agreement.
Under these resolutions, approval was given to transfer the provincial executive authority of the project to the federal government. The opposition members protested over this transfer of provincial powers and demanded the Bill be rejected.
Earlier in 2013, the Supreme Court had cancelled the Riko Diq project based on illegality after which the company working on the project approached the International Court of Justice against Pakistan. The State of Pakistan and the company ultimately agreed to an out-of-court settlement. Regarding the new agreement on the Riko Diq project, the President sent a reference to the Supreme Court, which gave its opinion.
On Tuesday, the members of the opposition parties in the Balochistan Assembly continued their protest against the two constitutional resolutions passed by the Provincial Assembly on December 10 regarding the Reko Diq Agreement – under which they approved the transfer of the provincial executive authority of the project to the federal government.