CHITRAL, April 20: The local support organizations (LSOs) and the stakeholders of mining and mineral sector in Chitral have asked the provincial government to send a high-powered committee to the valley by May 1 to allay their reservations regarding the leasing out of minerals in the district otherwise they will chalk out a strategy to launch a protest movement.
Addressing a press conference after a joint meeting of the LSOs and the stakeholders convened by Chitral Community Development Network, former district nazim Maghfirat Shah, Abdul Ghafar, Colonel (retired) Sardar Mohammad, Qadir Shah, Israruddin and others alleged that the government employed shady ways and means in leasing out the minerals. They said the local applicants were discouraged by the authorities of mineral department and the lease of important precious minerals was awarded to the non-locals in violation of rules and this creates hear-burning among the locals.
They warned that the obnoxious practice may create a Baluchistan-like situation in Chitral if the local natural resources are made a taboo for the locals. They alleged that on the instance of some of some influential, the provincial government has already leased the important minerals to companies many years ago which did not exist in reality. As a result of this, they added the minerals go unexplored and it is a pity that the local people applied for the lease they are refused on one pretext or the other. They asked the government to remove the strong reservations of the locals regarding the leasing process adopted by its mineral department which deprives the locals.–Zahiruddin