Social campaign launched in Quetta against Reko Diq deal

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A social campaign was launched at the University of Balochistan on Thursday against the Reko Diq agreement between the Pakistani government and the Toronto-based mining supergiant Barrick Gold Corporation. The agreement, which would allow the company to mine all the mineral resources in Reko Diq for the decades to come, has received a lukewarm welcome. On one hand, the Balochistan government is lauding the project as a “gamechanger” for Balochistan and its people whereas, on the other hand, nationalist and insurgent leaders argue that the project is meant to exploit the mineral resources of Balochistan.

The Reko Diq Defense Campaign was launched on Thursday at the University of Balochistan by the BNP-Mengal leader Lashkari Raisani and several other politicians and political workers. Lasharki visited the university in person to hand out leaflets on the Reko Diq project and its detrimental implications for the people of Balochistan.

Speaking to The Balochistan Post, Raisani said: “We have launched a campaign by the name of Reko Diq Defence Campaign against the closed-door agreement on mining in Reko Diq.” Raisani said that we will also carry out a public awareness seminar to inform the people of how the resources of Balochistan are being exploited and sold at ridiculous prices. He said that the political leaders who are distancing themselves from this issue must understand that this is one major problem that needs to be immediately addressed.

The Reko Diq mining agreement was signed between the government of Pakistan and the Canadian mining company Barrick Gold Corporation. Under this agreement, Barrick will have the right to mine the resources of Reko Diq for the decades to come. Counted among the largest reservoirs of gold and copper, Reko Diq can produce 200,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold every year for half a century.

The Reko Diq agreement was celebrated by the Pakistani government as a revolutionary deal, one that would also benefit the people of Balochistan. But Baloch nationalist and insurgent leaders think otherwise. They argue that the Pakistani government has exploited the resources of Balochistan on the same pretext and promised that the people of Balochistan would benefit, but such promises have never materialized. They say that the Pakistani government has been plundering the resources of Balochistan for decades, but not even once the locals have benefited. These resources have fueled commercial development in Punjab, but the Baloch, the heirs of this land, are struggling for basic necessities of life, like quality healthcare and education.

The insurgent groups warned Barrick Gold Corporation that it must back away from the project or suffer the consequences. Insurgents said that China involved itself in the plunder of the Baloch land and had to pay the prices. A similar fate will befall Barrick Gold if does not back away.


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