Barrick CEO says big miners showing interest in Pakistan’s Reko Diq project

Barrick CEO says big miners showing interest in Pakistan’s Reko Diq project
A undated file photo of the site of the gold and copper mine exploration project of Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) in Reko Diq, in Balochistan, Pakistan. (Photo courtesy: TCC)
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Updated 21 September 2023
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Barrick CEO says big miners showing interest in Pakistan’s Reko Diq project

Barrick CEO says big miners showing interest in Pakistan’s Reko Diq project
  • Barrick owns 50 percent stake in Reko Diq, 50 percent owned by governments of Pakistan, province of Balochistan
  • Barrick Gold considers the Reko Diq mine one of the world’s largest underdeveloped copper and gold areas

ISLAMABAD: Barrick Gold Corp. CEO Mark Bristow has said there is newfound “interest” from multinational mining firms to develop the $7 billion Reko Diq gold and copper mine in southwestern Pakistan, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
Barrick Gold owns a 50 percent stake in Pakistan’s Reko Diq mine, with the remaining 50 percent owned by the governments of Pakistan and the province of Balochistan. Barrick considers the mine one of the world’s largest underdeveloped copper-gold areas.
“They have an interest,” Bristow said in an interview to Bloomberg, declining to name the mining companies interested in Reko Diq or what he meant by “interest.”
“Of course, they’re a lot more conservative than I am, but as we open up these areas, whatever way you look at copper, there’s not enough of it.”
Last month Barrick said it was open to bringing in Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund as one of its partners in the Reko Diq project but has dismissed reports it was in talks with fellow Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals on a possible acquisition.
Barrick won’t be diluting its equity in the project but “will not mind” if Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) wants to buy out the equity of the Pakistan government, Bristow had said in a Reuters interview.
“There is a strong relationship between Saudi and Pakistan and since we control the project we have the first right of refusal,” the CEO added, saying Barrick would support PIF coming into the mine through Pakistan’s 25 percent equity stake.
In an out of court agreement last year, Barrick Gold ended a long-running dispute with Pakistan, and agreed to restart development on the mine. Under the deal, the company withdrew its case in an international arbitration court, which had slapped a penalty of $11 billion on Pakistan for suspending the contracts of the company and its partners in 2011.
The company’s license to mine the untapped deposits was canceled after the Supreme Court ruled illegal the award granted to it and its partner, Chile’s Antofagasta. Antofagasta had agreed to exit the project, saying its growth strategy was focused on production of copper and by-products in the Americas.
Pakistan’s mineral-rich province of Balochistan is home to separatist militants who have engaged in insurgency against the government for decades, demanding a greater share of the region’s resources.


In effort to combat narcotics, Pakistan to conduct National Drug Survey after 11 years

In effort to combat narcotics, Pakistan to conduct National Drug Survey after 11 years
Updated 12 sec ago
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In effort to combat narcotics, Pakistan to conduct National Drug Survey after 11 years

In effort to combat narcotics, Pakistan to conduct National Drug Survey after 11 years
  • Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi directs authorities to finalize matters related to drug survey within 15 days
  • Survey to include data from homes, educational institutions and slums, says narcotics control ministry 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi on Thursday approved holding a fresh National Drug Survey after a gap of 11 years, the Ministry of Narcotics Control confirmed, vowing that the exercise would help effectively combat the menace of narcotics across the country. 
Pakistan’s government conducted the last drug survey in 2012-13 which revealed that approximately six percent of the population – or 6.7 million people – had used a substance other than alcohol and tobacco in the preceding year.
The fresh survey will gather reliable information on the extent to which the Pakistani population is using drugs and facing related disorders.
“The National Drug Survey will be conducted in the country after 11 years,” Federal Minister for Narcotics Control and Interior Minister Naqvi was quoted as saying in a statement by the narcotics control ministry.
“It is very important that the drug survey should be comprehensive and accurate.”
The minister tasked authorities to finalize matters related to the survey within 15 days, stressing that data on drug users should be collected from homes, educational institutions and also slums.
Naqvi directed the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) to jointly formulate a strategy, including the nature of the data required, the sample format and also the timeline for conducting the survey.
The minister vowed that authorities will not compromise on the issue of drugs as it concerns the nation’s future, adding that comprehensive decision-making related to narcotics would only be possible if the survey results were authentic.
“International development organizations should also be contacted for their cooperation in conducting the survey,” Naqvi was quoted as saying. 
Earlier in March, Pakistan’s Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) said it achieved a “monumental victory” in the battle against drug trafficking by intercepting the largest consignment of methamphetamine, popularly called “ice” in the South Asian country’s history.
ANF and Pakistan Coast Guard personnel have also lost their lives in land and sea operations against narcotics traffickers in numerous operations over the years.


Pakistan arrests nine murder suspects from UAE in joint operation with Interpol

Pakistan arrests nine murder suspects from UAE in joint operation with Interpol
Updated 18 July 2024
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Pakistan arrests nine murder suspects from UAE in joint operation with Interpol

Pakistan arrests nine murder suspects from UAE in joint operation with Interpol
  • FIA has dispatched a local team to the Gulf state to bring back the accused individuals to Pakistan
  • Pakistan’s premier investigation agency says suspects were arrested from different areas of the UAE

ISLAMABAD: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) have arrested nine Pakistani murder suspects from the United Arab Emirates in a joint operation, said an official statement on Thursday.

Interpol, an inter-governmental organization with 196 member countries, facilitates the sharing and accessing of data on crimes and criminals, offering a range of technical and operational support. Each member country hosts an Interpol National Central Bureau, which connects their national law enforcement with other countries and the general secretariat through a secure global police communications network called I-24/7, according to the Interpol website.

“During the special operation, nine suspects wanted in serious crimes were arrested from the UAE,” the FIA said. “The accused persons were arrested due to a joint strategy of Interpol Islamabad and Interpol Abu Dhabi.”

The statement said the suspects wanted by the police in Pakistan’s central Punjab province had cases registered against them under the provisions of attempted murder and murder.

Of these suspects, one was wanted by the Punjab police for 14 years while another was already dead and the rest were living abroad after committing murders, it added.

The FIA said all the murder suspects were arrested from different areas in the UAE, adding a local team had been dispatched to bring back the accused persons to Pakistan where they will be handed to the local Punjab police.

Pakistan’s national investigation agency and Interpol have also collaborated in the past to bring back criminals who had fled the South Asian state to evade arrest.


Police in Oman attribute mosque attack that killed six, including four Pakistanis, to local citizens

Police in Oman attribute mosque attack that killed six, including four Pakistanis, to local citizens
Updated 18 July 2024
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Police in Oman attribute mosque attack that killed six, including four Pakistanis, to local citizens

Police in Oman attribute mosque attack that killed six, including four Pakistanis, to local citizens
  • Police say the three gunmen, who targeted the mosque, were killed after they offered resistance to security personnel
  • Attack claimed by Daesh is viewed as an attempt by the militant group to make a comeback after being crushed by the US

DUBAI: The three gunmen who shot and killed six people at a Shi’ite Muslim mosque in Oman in an attack claimed by Daesh this week were all Omani nationals, police said on Thursday.
The assault began on Monday evening at the Ali bin Abi Talib Mosque in the Wadi Al-Kabir neighborhood of Oman’s capital Muscat as Shi’ite Muslims gathered.
The Royal Oman Police said the three gunmen were brothers and “were killed due to their insistence on resisting security personnel.” It said that police investigations had indicated the three gunmen were “influenced by misguided ideas.”
The six people killed by the gunmen were four Pakistani nationals, an Indian, and a police officer responding to the attack, which Daesh later claimed responsibility for.
Pakistan has labelled the assault a terror attack.
Daesh on Tuesday said that three of its “suicide attackers” fired on worshippers at the mosque on Monday evening and exchanged gunfire with Omani security forces until morning.
The Sunni militant group also published what it said was a video of the attack on its Telegram site. It has claimed responsibility this year for high-profile attacks in Russia and Iran which inflicted mass casualties and is active in Afghanistan. It had not claimed an assault on the Arabian Peninsula for several years until the attack in Oman.
DAESH SEEKS COMEBACK
Its operations have indicated the group is attempting a comeback after it was crushed by a US-led coalition following its occupation of large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate.
It also inspired lone-wolf attacks in the West.
Any inroads in Gulf Arab oil producers such as Oman would raise fears in Washington and the region which has long viewed militant Islamist groups as a major threat.
Dozens of people at the mosque in Oman were wounded with around 30 people treated at local hospitals, including for gunshot wounds.
Monday evening marked the beginning of Ashura, an annual period of mourning, which many Shi’ite Muslims mark publicly, to commemorate the 7th century death of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The observation of Ashura has sometimes triggered sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims in some Middle East countries.
The attack was largely unprecedented in Oman, where most of its citizens follow the Ibadi Muslim faith that shares many similarities with mainstream Sunni Islam. Oman has a small but influential Omani Shi’ite population. Like other Gulf countries, there is a large and significant foreign workforce in Oman too.


Pakistan criticizes UN for inaction on Palestine and Kashmir, seeks resolution of global disputes

Pakistan criticizes UN for inaction on Palestine and Kashmir, seeks resolution of global disputes
Updated 16 min 39 sec ago
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Pakistan criticizes UN for inaction on Palestine and Kashmir, seeks resolution of global disputes

Pakistan criticizes UN for inaction on Palestine and Kashmir, seeks resolution of global disputes
  • Ambassador Jadoon tells UNSC Pakistan opposes a global order dominated by a few powerful states
  • He calls for a more just and democratic world through adherence to the principles of the UN Charter

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan criticized the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) this week for failing to apply its core principles to regions like Palestine and Kashmir, highlighting the non-implementation of its own resolutions to address protracted disputes around the world, during an open debate on multilateral cooperation.

Both regions have striking similarities, particularly regarding themes of foreign occupation and the right to self-determination. The UN has passed several resolutions in the past, advocating for peaceful solutions to the two protracted disputes, though geopolitical interests and regional dynamics have complicated these efforts.

Additionally, both regions have reportedly been focal points for human rights violations, including allegations of excessive use of force, restrictions on movement and suppression of political rights.

Presenting Pakistan’s perspective, Ambassador Usman Jadoon described the multilateral cooperation as “indispensable” for addressing global challenges.

“He expressed regret that the UN Security Council has failed to ensure universal implementation of the core principles of the UN Charter and its own resolutions, such as those related to Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir,” said an official statement shared by the country’s permanent mission to the UN on the social media on Wednesday.

He rejected any world order, whether unipolar, bipolar or multipolar, which was dominated by a few powerful states, saying such arrangements contradicted the principle of sovereign equality among nations.

“A just, democratic and sustainable world is achievable only through consistent adherence to the fundamental principles of the UN Charter,” he added.

Reiterating his own country’s commitment to comprehensive multilateral cooperation, he said such approach “must be comprehensive, inclusive, and equitable.”

He also called for reforms to the global financial, trade and technology architecture, saying they would ease “the suffering of a billion people in the Global South and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”


Two dead, several injured in northwest Pakistan amid monsoon rains, flood warning

Two dead, several injured in northwest Pakistan amid monsoon rains, flood warning
Updated 18 July 2024
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Two dead, several injured in northwest Pakistan amid monsoon rains, flood warning

Two dead, several injured in northwest Pakistan amid monsoon rains, flood warning
  • Pakistan’s disaster management body expects recent spell of monsoon rains to continue until July 21
  • The loss of life was caused in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Charsadda region due roof collapse amid heavy rains

PESHAWAR: Two people were killed and several others injured in the recent spell of rains in Pakistan’s northwest, an official statement released on Thursday confirmed, with the provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) administration expressing sorrow over the development.

The recent loss of life followed an alert issued by Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) warning of floods in KP, Punjab and other parts of the country due to monsoon rains.

Pakistan experienced devastating floods in 2022, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,700 people and causing extensive damage to houses, farmlands and public infrastructure.

It is also considered among one of the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change, despite contributing minimally to global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Two people were killed and several others injured as roofs of houses collapsed due to heavy rains in Shabqadar, Charsadda,” said the statement released by the KP government.

It also noted that Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur extended condolences and sympathies to the families of the deceased.

He directed the relevant district administration to provide timely medical assistance to the injured and ensure immediate relief to the affected.

The NDMA forecast rains and thundershowers a day earlier in the upper regions of the country from July 16 to 21 with occasional gaps.

It noted that rain could exceed 50 millimeters and cause flooding in local streams.

“The NDMA has issued instructions to all relevant departments to take necessary precautions to mitigate the possible effects of flooding and extreme weather,” the alert said.

“The public is advised to take precautions to avoid flooding and to ensure their safety from lightning strikes,” it continued. “Avoid going outside during bad weather and keep a safe distance from electrical poles and wires.”

The NDMA also announced the launch of its cellphone app, available on Google Play Store and iOS App Store, to help the public get timely alerts, adviseries and guidelines.