ISLAMABAD: Despite strong protests by treasury lawmakers including a sitting federal minister, the National Assembly did not waste a single minute and passed Foreign Investment (Promotion and Protection) Bill, 2022 on Monday without referring it to the committee concerned for further deliberation. 

Sardar Akhtar Mengal of Balochistan National Party (Mengal), whose party is an ally of the ruling government, Maulana Abdul Wasay, Federal Minister for Housing and Works, and Maulana Abdul Akber Chitrali, opposed the bill after it was presented in the house by the Law and Justice Minister, Azam Nazeer Tarar. 

Mengal said that it is the bad luck of Balochistan that the rulers never understood the issues of the province, as no government since the creation of the country ever “considered the province as part of the country and its resources were thought “male-e-ghanimat or war booty.”  He said that the people of Balochistan have always been treated like children of a lesser God, as “our youth are being picked up and the decision over our natural resources are taken somewhere else” which is a clear violation of the Constitution. 

He said under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Balochistan was not given a single road, adding the amendment should have been brought by taking all the political parties into confidence.

He said that no one knows about the bill as the bill was passed by the Senate but no member had any idea about it, as legislation is being done in the dark of the night. 

“The PPP members played a crucial role in the 18th Amendment and this is a step towards rollbacking the historic legislation of provincial autonomy. If you want these kinds of legislations, you should go for one unit and end the rights of all the provinces so that the decisions taken by the Centre will be accepted,” he regretted.

He said Balochistan is already burning and through these legislations, foreign investors could be pleased, but the people are being pushed against the wall which would be disastrous.  Maulana Wasay said that he is opposing the bill despite being a federal minister as it is a big blow to those, especially the PPP, who claim to be the champions of provincial autonomy.