Raisani says his sacking was for gold-copper mines

January 16, 2013 - 11:21:17 am

QUETTA: Sacked Chief Minister of Pakistan’s troubled southwestern Balochistan province, Aslam Raisani, has said that his government was ambushed through a conspiracy because he had refused to hand over the Reko Diq gold and copper mines rather than the allegations of terrorism.

“They should have waited for four days or so for my return to Pakistan. Whatever has happened is not right. It will have serious repercussions as some people will say that if this happens to a pro-Pakistan Baloch, then what happens to others. It has not sent a good message at all,” he said, and stressed that he was ‘not at all shocked’ over his sacking as ‘I knew something was in the offing’.

Speaking exclusively to Geo News in Cambridge, in a report broadcast yesterday, Raisani, who was present in the city with his family members after arriving in Cambridge, said that he regretted the loss of lives of Hazara Shia community who were killed by terrorists from the banned Sunni sectarian organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi but denied to take responsibility and instead questioned why other provincial governments had not been sacked.

He said no one from the Pakistani authorities consulted, discussed or called him prior to his sacking on Sunday night. He claimed that conspiracies against his government had started after he refused to be bribed over the issue of Reko Diq, the world’s largest gold mines in the resource rich Balochistan.

“I am not shocked at my sacking. Do I look shocked or worried, no, I am actually laughing at them as what they have done. I was prepared for this day for over three years. I was being pressurised to start negotiations with the global copper companies over Reko Diq. They offered me money and tried to bribe me but I refused to be bought, I refused to meet or entertain them,” he said.

He linked the sacking of his government with an international conspiracy. “My question is what the Dutch, Germans, Chinese, Russians and Americans have to do with the Reko Diq, Whenever I meet a diplomat, he would ask what I was doing about Reko Diq. I would question them why were they interested in it and that they should mind their own business. Global players are playing their game in Balochistan. They have made Balochistan a playground for their aims. They are playing the game.”

Raisani claimed that he enjoyed the support of the majority of coalition partners. “The majority is with me, they are still supporting me. I gave my opponents a free hand to bring an in-house change if they wished to. I am with my partners wholeheartedly and I am thankful to them for the way they have supported me.”

Raisani lashed out at those who had particularly picked on Balochistan, the strife-ridden province hit by insurgency and sectarian violence. 

He called for the governor’s rule in other provinces too if sectarian killing is the only reason and there is nothing else at work.

He added “This is openly a sectarian strife. What happened in Quetta on the Alamdar Road was the result of sectarian Shia-Sunni tussle. It is happening in Gilgit-Baltistan, the Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and all over the country. It’s happening elsewhere in the world and has actually now spread to Indonesia also. It happens in the Punjab where the population is 100 million. Balochistan has a population of only 9.5 million, that’s the reason why killings in Balochistan are highlighted but go unreported in the case of Punjab because such news can be buried because of the population.”

Raisani categorically refused to take responsibility for the law and order situation in the province and said that he did everything possible to help the people of his province and held the law enforcement agencies responsible for the current situation.

“I took every step to correct the situation. I gave a free hand to the Frontier Constabulary and the police. I never interfered in the policing matters and gave them liberty to work. Now, what’s clear is that I cannot myself go on patrolling with a force of my own to establish law and order. What I did was to give policy to them; it was their responsibility to implement the policy,” he said.

Raisani was very bitter about his sacking and again and again mentioned his angst at the way he was shown the door. He said his Pakistan People’s Party was not against him despite the fact that he had been sacked from the party and was no longer a member. “It’s wrong how I have been sacked. I secured the vote of confidence and there was no way they could remove me democratically, so they dissolved my government,” he said.

Raisani said he was visiting the country for the medical check-up of his ‘vocal chords’ which collapsed in 1997. 

“I come to Europe once in a while for the check-up. There is no other reason.”