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Loss of national wealth

Loss of national wealth

According to news reports, Pakistan has lost Reko Diq mining case in international courts and is facing $11.43 billion in damages, thanks to corruption and inefficiency of the successive governments in Balochistan. The provincial governments frequently changed the agreements of ownership from one company to another from 1998 to 2006 allegedly in violation of Chagai Hills Joint Venture Exploration Agreement. This is the case of a project which is one of the biggest assets of Balochistan. It is yet to be decided what had prompted the provincial government to sign this agreement in haste, mortgaging the national wealth to a foreign company. Who permitted the government to accept the hostile conditions and ill-advised sections and clauses of the contract in the first place? In the absence of an accountability process, the culprits in the case are walking free and the nation has to pay billions of dollars from the national wealth. There is no doubt in the notion that successive governments in Balochistan mishandled the case and those who are responsible for the mess have no tinge of conscience in them. A point to ponder is that Pakistan has so far lost every case in the in International Court of Justice and other world forums.

The Tethyan Copper Company filed a suit for international arbitration with International Court in 2012 for the Settlement of Investment Disputes of the World Bank when the provincial government of the time had rejected a request from the company to lease the landmine. During the proceedings, the case had been decided against Pakistan for breaching the Bilateral Investment Treaty of 1998 between Pakistan and Australia. The losing of case in the international court means Pakistan has to offer its gold to the foreign company free of cost. The case is also a classic example in which multi-national companies are appearing as the neo-colonialists in this modern age. The companies have taken the role of East India Company and the likes in this era of science and technology and free will. A question still remains that who should be held responsible for the national losses. The companies are occupying resources of the developing nations and the international courts are deciding in favour of corporate sector. In the home front, the central and the provincial government should bring the officials responsible for the losses to book and put strict conditions on the company in line with the law and constitution of Pakistan. Enough is enough.