- Foreign Investment Act will be confined to Reko Diq only.
- Amendment will now be presented in NA for approval.
- BNP-M had warned of leaving coalition govt over bill.
ISLAMABAD: Amid threats from its ally — Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) — to quit the coalition government, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Friday tabled an amendment in the Senate confining the Foreign Investment (Promotion and Protection) Act, 2022 to Reko Diq only, which was passed by the upper house.
“Investment (Promotion and Protection) Act, 9022 (XXXV of 2022), in section 1, in sub-section (2), after the word ‘Pakistan’, the expression ‘but for the purpose of, Balochistan Province, it shall only apply to the qualified investment of Reko Diq project as mentioned in schedules and annexures of this Act’ shall be added,” states the approved amendment.
The bill said that the amendment has been made to clarify the “scope and application” of the act. The amendment will now be presented in the National Assembly for approval.
The federal cabinet earlier this week approved funding for the project but coalition partners BNP-M chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) had some concerns regarding it. Moreover, Mengal even warned of parting ways with the federal government.
Law minister Tarar claimed that the matters had been resolved with Mengal, saying that he was in touch with the BNP-M chief and other coalition partners who wanted to limit the Foreign Investment (Promotion and Protection) Act, 2022 to Reko Diq.
Responding to the claim, BNP-M Vice President Malik Wali Kakar said that their grievances had not been addressed by the federal government. He refuted Tarar’s statement that the issue had been resolved and said the minister’s statement was contrary to the facts.
He also said Federal Minister Ayaz Sadiq had sought time for a meeting, which would be agreed upon after consultation with his party.
Fazl-Mengal discussion on Reko Diq
On Tuesday, Fazlur Rehman and Sardar Akhtar Mengal expressed reservations about not taking them into confidence on the legislation concerning Reko Diq.
Fazl met Mengal in which matters pertaining to the overall political situation of the country and Balochistan came under discussion.
In this regard, sources said both the leaders expressed concern over not being taken into confidence on the Reko Diq legislation and agreed to adopt a joint political strategy.
SC okays deal
Last week, the apex court declared the new deal between a Canadian firm and the government on the Reko Diq project legal.
A five-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, shared its opinion on a reference sent by President Arif Alvi.
Canadian company Barrick Gold, which ended a long-standing dispute with Pakistan in March last to strike a new agreement, earlier asked the federal government to get clearance from parliament and the country’s top court to make its investment in the project safe.
In its short verdict, the apex court observed that the government had signed the agreement after taking the Balochistan Assembly into confidence and consulting experts.