Govt should not
consider Balochs as
minority; urges Mengal

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QUETTA: BNP-M President Sardar Akhtar Mengal on Sunday urged the federal government to prevent the people of Gwadar and the rest of Balochistan from becoming a minority in their own province.

“Questions about Balochistan’s minerals and resources fall into the category of treason,” the MNA said while talking to the media in Quetta after his party met to discuss the Reqo Dik project.

“We will not support any agreement until the problems of the people here [in the province] are solved,” he added.

“The owners of the resources of Balochistan are its people. “He further said according to the Constitution, wherever natural resources were discovered, the first right belonged to the locals. “The people of Balochistan have 50% right over their minerals.”

He demanded that refineries should be set up in those areas for testing minerals. Mengal regretted that his party had always been accused of being anti-development.

Leader of Balochistan National Party-M Sardar Akhtar Mengal addressed a press conference at Karachi Press Club on Sunday.

“In fact, it wants development for the people of Balochistan and the province.”

He recalled that gas was discovered in Balochistan in 1952. “Balochistan used to supply gas to 46% of the country, but today the reserves have shrunk to 15%.”

He lamented the non-payment of gas royalty to Balochistan. “Even royalty is also given like charity.”

The BNP-M chief regretted that apart from a few district headquarters, Balochistan was deprived of its own gas production. “Even Quetta [the provincial capital] has no gas for cooking.”

He maintained that minerals from Saindak were looted, instead of providing employment. He claimed that the minerals of Balochistan had been used to develop other parts of the country.

Mengal said despite spending billions of rupees, no development had taken place in Gwadar.

He added that the lack of trust had changed the situation in Balochistan and the province was undergoing its fifth or sixth military operation now.

The BNP-M chief had recently demanded that the government of Balochistan and its parties should be included in the briefing about the Saindak agreement. He had added that there was no information about how much gold and silver has been mined from Balochistan as no checks and balances in the Saindak agreement had been included.

“In the same way that Balochistan has always been deprived of gas from Sui and the reserves of Saindak and Reko Diq have also been considered as booty and distributed to other companies instead of benefiting the locals,” he had regretted.

 “As far as the briefing is concerned, we have no idea what is happening inside and the current and past governments of Balochistan and all its parties should be taken into confidence in this regard.”

Sardar Akhtar Mengal on Sunday offered condolences to the family of journalist Shahid Zehri who was martyred in Hub bomb blast and the family of Mir Akram Sajidi, a tribal elder of Awaran.

Mengal after offering his condolence at the death of tribal leader Lala Majeed, told media that there are no checks and balances about Saindak as well as Reko Diq agreements which is unfortunate. “We have no information how much gold and silver has been mined from these reserves.

In the same way that Balochistan has always been deprived of gas from Sui and the reserves of Saindak and Reko Diq have also been considered as booty and distributed
to other companies instead of benefiting the locals,” he said.

“As far as the briefing is concerned we have no idea what is happening inside and the current and past governments of Balochsitan and all its parties should be taken into confidence in this regard,” he said.

He said that the intentions of the federal government as well as the provincial government or the company which filed a case in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are not clear causing confusion.

Balochistan National Party will not accept any such agreement in which the province and its people are deprived of its rights.