CHITRAL: The local leadership of almost all the political parties and civil society members announced to launch a movement against the government for leasing out mines and minerals in the valley to foreign companies and contractor mafias and depriving the local residents of their rights.
Speaking at a press conference here, Shahzada Mudassirul Mulk, Liaqat Ali, Maulana Israruddin Alhilal, Syed Burhan Shah, Maulana Abdul Sami Azad, Wajihuddin, Muhammad Kausar advocate, Dr Nazir Ahmad and others asked the government that right of ownership of the local people on Chitral’s minerals and other natural resources should be accepted.
“The land, natural resources and minerals should not be handed over to the foreigners and contractor mafias being backed by the influential persons. We will oppose the government move tooth and nail to lease out mines to foreigners and mafias and deprive the local residents,” Shahzada Mudassirul Mulk said, adding that the locals should be given equal opportunity to participate in the lease bidding.
The elders said Chitral had 80 percent mountains and glaciers, which are replete with huge precious minerals.
They said the government had divided the entire Chitral into 15 parts, which were leased out to the foreign investors and influential people for large-scale mining while the local small investors were deprived to their rights.
They said that over 600 investors had applied for small-scale mining as per the provincial government advertisement but later the authorities changed their mind and started efforts for launching large-scale mining in Chitral.
They also provided documentary proofs to the media about the lease of minerals in Chitral to US and Swat-based companies.
The elders and political activists termed the government move an injustice to the people of Chitral and vowed to resist it at all costs.
Earlier, the elders and political activists staged a rally and held a protest meeting at the PIA Chowk against the lease policy.