The media is suddenly alive with the story of the Reko Diq project in Balochistan. As a concerned citizen, I have followed this story and I have come to understand that there is a controversy around this projects estimated value, and share of the Balochistan Government in it. There is a lot of hue and cry concerning the project but these two elements are core to the issue as I see it. Tethyan Copper Company has explored the Reko Diq deposits and claims to have spent over US$ 220 million on the drilling and technical studies of the project. The bankable feasibility report of the project has been already submitted to the government of Balochistan. To me, the solution is very simple. The feasibility study submitted by the company must be vetted by a credible and neutral expert in a transparent fashion. This is a good way to settle the issue of the value of the resource at Reko Diq. As for the share in the contract, well that is done and settled to me. If every new government is going to scrap contracts made by previous governments; given that there is no bigger a guarantor in a state than the government itself, then no contract will develop into a productive project and no new investor will come to our country risking their money. Moreover from what I understand, the Balochistan Mineral Rules allow an investor to exclusive rights of exploration and issuance of mining lease upon exploring a viable resource. There is no role of state except to collect taxes and royalties. To me it seems an added advantage that the government has an extra 25% share in profits in this project. So why are we behaving in a manner that will make any investor think twice before coming to this country which does not even respect its own laws. So a major aspect which is missing in the entire debate is that no one is talking about the financial state of Pakistan. How much investment has come into the country? The State Bank of Pakistans recent figures reveal a 9.5% decline in FDI as compared to July-September 2010. The foreign investment inflows into Pakistan in 2009-10 had dropped down to US$ 2150 million as compared to US$ 5139 million in 2006-07. A staggering 42% decline in FDI. Does it mean that the nations of the world do not want to work with us? Along with billions lost in FDI, we have also lost opportunities to learn from technologically advanced countries, systems, processes, industrial expertise, technology transfer and so much more. I implore the media, fellow country-men, the federal and provincial governments and all those who love this country to please set our focus right, to welcome FDI in this cash strapped country, to honour our commitments. PROF NASRULLAH MALIK, Islamabad, December 4.