How much is the lust for money of our leaders and how low can they stoop to gain wealth at the cost of  peoples’ welfare and Pakistan’s prosperity is alarming. The coverage of ‘Reko Diq controversy’ in your issue of August 7 brings to light the facts and figures about the project and the dirty role of our leaders in this respect, which remained wrapped under the carpet. The nation is facing a threat of one billion dollar penalty as the Balochistan government is now very rightly dragging its feet from the agreed mining lease to Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) a Canadian and Chilean joint venture engaged for the excavation of Reko Diq’s hidden treasure.

The facts of the case are; The Reko Diq mine has estimated reserves of 11.65 million tons of copper and 21.18 million ounces of gold. Feeling that it neither had the capacity nor the potential to explore and excavate the mineral wealth, the provincial government of Balochistan gave the TCC a contract to execute the job. Surprisingly those who signed the agreement were not only incompetent and highly corrupt but also unpatriotic and disloyal to Pakistan. By giving away 75 percent shares of the project to the Canadian company and keeping only 25 percent for the nation which owned the treasure, they literally sold the Pakistan’s wealth to the foreigners. No sane person would have agreed to such terms without the volume of ‘kick backs touching the sky’. To our good luck a few years back some pious and noble soul felt that the country’s wealth estimated at 60 billion dollars at the time of agreement was being given away for pennies, put his foot down creating differences between the two factions.

The TCC claims it has invested over 500 million dollars in exploration, scoping and feasibility studies. According to the company if the case goes to the court Pakistan is likely to face a penalty of at least one billion dollars. They are, however, agreeable to settle the dispute out of the court which suits Pakistan. The prices of copper and gold having gone up the value of the project must have risen considerably. I suggest the government should agree to the proposal of out of court settlement, involve Dr Samar Mubarikmand in the issue and settle the problem. The names of the ‘experts’ who evolved the share distribution formula of 75 percent to the foreign company and 25 percent to Pakistan must also be notified. They should be hauled up and charged for throwing away Pakistan’s wealth in the ocean.

RAFI NASIM,

Lahore, August 12.