The Baloch American Congress (B.A.C.) Tuesday wrote an open letter to Mark Bristow, Chief Executive Officer of the Barrick Gold Corporation, demanding to immediately end its mining operations in conflict-torn Balochistan.
“It does not behove a Canadian company to act like a Chinese corporation since the Canadians believe in international law, human rights and democracy,” Dr Tara Chand, president of the B.A.C. said in his open letter to Bristow.
The B.A.C. president said the main objective of his letter was to “protest and condemn Barrick Gold Corporation’s secretive deal with Pakistan military to explore copper and gold from Reko Diq in Balochistan” and called for freezing any and all activities until the key question of Balochistan’s right to self-determination was resolved.
He copied the prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau and the president of the United States, Joe Biden, in the letter to Bristow and asked the two world leaders to do whatever they can to stop this shady deal and protect the interests of the hapless and stateless people of Balochistan under the R2P.
“You might be knowing the France-sized territory of Balochistan was occupied by Pakistan military at the point of gun on March 27, 1948, against the wishes of the Baloch people,” Dr Tara Chand informed Mr Bristow.
“Baloch people have risen up in arms five times against this Pakistan military occupation. The fifth uprising started in March 2005 and is still ongoing. Tens of thousands of Baloch people and thousands of soldiers of the Pakistan military have perished in the prolonged struggle of the Baloch people against Pakistan military tyranny.
“Upwards of 80,000 Baloch patriots were forcibly disappeared during this period. Fate of more than 5,000 such victims of enforced disappearances remains unknown to this day.”
Dr Tara Chand said international law quite clearly prohibits corporations from venturing in zones of conflict, especially in territories such as Balochistan where people are demanding their right to self-determination.
“I call upon Barrick Gold to show respect to international law and immediately cancel its agreements with the Pakistan military. The exploitation of Baloch blood gold will most certainly aggravate the bleeding wounds of Balochistan. Hence I call upon Barrick Gold to cease and freeze its operation in Reko Diq.”
He said Barrick’s secret deal was highly irresponsible as it was not only endangering its investors’ monies but also the lives of many technical experts who might come to Reko Diq, unaware of the dangers.
“The secret deal will also further put into jeopardy thousands of Baloch lives,” the B.A.C. president emphasized. He recalled that the Barrick Gold had earlier entered Balochistan in the same Reko Diq project during the military regime of disgraced army coup leader General Pervez Musharraf.
Dr Tara Chand said once the Baloch people regain sovereignty over their homeland they will invite open tenders for not only copper and gold but many other minerals. “At that time, Barrick Gold may be welcome to join the open bidding process,” he concluded.