Minister vows to move court over cement factory issue

QUETTA: Balochistan’s local government minister has called for cancelling the allotment of a 45,000-acre piece of land to a cement factory in Hub and said he would take the matter to court.

Mohammad Saleh Bhootani, who is also the provincial president of the ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), was speaking on the point of order in the Balochistan Assembly.

Mr Bhootani said the Mines and Minerals Development Department had allotted 45,000 acres to a cement factory, which he said belonged to the people of Hub and Lasbela districts.

The allotted land comprised mountains, agriculture lands, hundreds of villages, farms and graveyards, he said, arguing that there was no justification for allotting such a vast area for setting up a cement factory.

He said the cement factory owners would soon fence the boundaries of the land and the locals already settled there would be forced to shift elsewhere.

Mr Bhootani urged Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, also from BAP, to “show mercy on the poor people of the area and cancel the allotment”.

The minister said that if the allotment was not cancelled, he and the people of the area would approach the court of law.

Sham Lal Lasi, an MPA from Lasbela, also opposed the land allotment and said the people of Lasbela and Hub would resist the move.

The parliamentary leader of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal, Naseer Ahmed Shahwani, condemned the allotment and demanded the government withdraw its decision. “If such practices continue, what will be the future of Balochistan?” he wondered.

The house also adopted a resolution to express grief over a powerful earthquake in Turkiye and Syria, which killed and injured thousands of people and rendered millions homeless.

The resolution was moved by Parliamentary Secretary Bushra Rind.

On the occasion, the lawmakers announced that they would donate one month’s salary to the relief fund set up to help earthquake victims.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2023