Gwadar port handover to China breaches Pak Constitution, claim Baloch leaders
Islamabad, Mar. 4 : Livid over Islamabad's decision to hand over the financially struggling Gwadar port to a Chinese company, Baloch leaders are now turning to the Constitution to drive their point home.
A spokesperson for the Balochistan government referred to a previous statement by provincial governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, who said that the benefits of the Gwadar Port should first be given to the people of Balochistan, reports The Express Tribune.
He added that under the Constitution, the federal government controls ports in the country, including Gwadar Port.
When the 18th Amendment was made to the Constitution in 2010, the provinces were given more powers. But for matters that were important for the federation or the country as a whole, such as ports and shipping or water, a Council of Common Interests (CCI) would make decisions, the paper stated.
Baloch leaders are now referring to Article 154 (1) of the Constitution that lists federal matters that should be taken up by the council.
The defunct Baloch Republican Party (BRP), led by Brahamdagh Bugti, and Balochistan National Party-Awami headed by federal minister Mir Israrullah Zehri also resent the move without taking the government of Balochistan into confidence.
Dr Bashir Azeem, a spokesperson for Bugti, said the federal government did not consider it essential to consult the Baloch people before taking this decision. It didn't even bother to seek advice from the so-called nationalists who are its ruling allies, he added.
Dr Azeem said that the federal government has once again established that it will continue to exploit the natural resources of the Baloch people for Islamabad.
He further said that the BRP will never compromise on the economic rights of the already deprived people of Balochistan.