Success claims on RekoDiq project

No one knows what the previous or present agreements are

Some multinational companies around the world have come up with a new and unique way of looting in underdeveloped countries: first drawing up an agreement that is not immediately understood by the local people and then brib5ng the corrupt political elite and officials to sign the agreement. If the agreement is ever understood and rescinded, then a lawsuit could be filed against it in the World Bank’s “conciliation tribunal” seeking multiple times more compensation than the amount spent.

All this was done on the RekoDiq project with Pakistan. Pakistan canceled the RekoDiq project and the TethyanCopper Company took the case to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), where an international arbitration tribunal imposed not only a $5.97 billion fine on Pakistan; in addition to the $4 billion in damages, it also ordered the payment of 1.7 billion in interest for a total amount of $11 billion.Pakistan fought a 10-year legal battle and not only managed to get rid of the fines but also an agreement has been reached between the Toronto-based Barrick Gold Company and Pakistani government which will invest $8 billion in the RekoDiq project.

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RekoDiq is one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits, capable of producing 200,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold per year for more than a half-century. The project was halted in 2011 after Pakistan refused to grant Barrick and Antofagasta Plc a license to develop RekoDiq, resulting in a dispute. Now, a mining lease with an exploration license and surface rights will be granted to Barrick Gold Company.

When all the gold and copper will be extracted from this country then Pakistan will have a few cents, even 25 percent of it would have been embezzled in the name of the people of Balochistan and the rest would have been settled in the name of development. Where is Pakistan heading? The sensible countries of the world are currently trying to save their resources while we are proudly claiming success by selling our national resources.

There is no doubt that the successful resumption of the RekoDiq project in the RekoDiq case is encouraging, but it is imperative that all figures be accurately estimated at the time of any contract, so as not to face such problems that have been encountered with regard to the first RekoDiq agreement. The government claims that under the new agreement, in which a Canadian company called Barrick Gold will revive the RekoDiq project in partnership with Pakistani institutions, and under which the share of the company and Pakistani departments will be halved, while 25 percent of Pakistan’s remaining half will be given to Balochistan. On this project, the Finance Minister said that it would not only create 8,000 new jobs, but also to free Pakistan from debt. The Prime Minister claims that this project will connect Balochistan with the rest of the world and will lead to its construction and development.

There is no denying the fact that whenever the Pakistani rulers make a new agreement, the announcements seem worth welcoming. From the construction of the motorway in this country to the CPEC and from the previous agreement of RekoDiq to the new agreement, all the same things are being said, but like in the past, the people are still deprived of knowing the factual details of the first agreement of the RekoDiq project. According to the new agreement, Canadian companies and Pakistani companies will be entitled to a half-share, but who will determine the value of these reserves? At what rate will the shares be determined, on what basis will the half be distributed and who will be given 8,000 jobs in which sectors? No explanation has been provided in this regard.

The real problem in this country is that everyone is ready to make claims and credit here, but no one is ready to take responsibility for everything from the monkey distribution of jobs to the disappearance of income. The way the nation has been kept unaware of the terms of the CPEC agreement in this country, the public has been kept unaware of RekoDiq’s new treaty. These claimants of a democratic government do not know why they like to keep the people ignorant in government affairs. From CPEC to the RekoDiq project, it is not a matter of jobs and income but awareness of national resources and its income. How cruel it is that those who have the resources are unaware of its deal. It is the weakness of the people themselves that they are unaware of the valuable resources and do not know at what price their gold, copper and natural resources are being sold abroad.

The rulers in every era of power never tire of exclaiming that the decisions of the people will not be made without the will of the people, but all decisions are made in the interest of their own will instead of the people. The public remained ignorant yesterday and even today. While receiving congratulations on new agreements, they are unaware of how such big deals are done without the consent of the people.

It is useless to say that matters should be brought before Parliament, where the situation is so miserable that the so-called representatives of the country are selling their conscience for a few bucks. How will they know how much resources this country has and where and how they are being sold?

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When all the gold and copper will be extracted from this country then Pakistan will have a few cents, even 25 percent of it would have been embezzled in the name of the people of Balochistan and the rest would have been settled in the name of development. Where is Pakistan heading? The sensible countries of the world are currently trying to save their resources while we are proudly claiming success by selling our national resources.

 

Attiya Munawer
Attiya Munawer
The writer tweets @AttiyaMunawer

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