G-B Council Criticise CM Mehdi Shah and takes “steps against permit to Mohsin Industries”

Mineral resources fall under us and G-BLA cannot issue any mining licenses: G-B Council member.

GILGIT: The controversy over issuance of a mining license to a Hong Kong-based company took a new turn as members of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) said that the mineral resources fall under their purview.

“The chief minister cannot issue any license as it is the council’s job to issue all licenses,” Ibrahim, a member of G-B Council, told reporters on Tuesday. He said he will raise the issue with the prime minister and request him to cancel the license.

This comes after G-B Finance Minister Muhammad Ali Akhtar was issued a show cause notice for openly criticising chief minister’s decision to award mining license to Mohsin Industries, a Hong Kong-based company.

Akhtar, in a statement, denounced the issuance of a license to Mohsin Industries. “It is on record that the government had seized Mohsin’s assets in G-B a couple of years back, declaring him persona non grata. His stores are still locked,” he said.

Another member of G-B Council, Wazir Ibadat, said issuing a show cause to finance minister is unethical and urged the chief minister to listen to people’s voice. Ibadat added Mohsin Industries is a suspect in the eyes of intelligence agencies.

Wang Zunyu, a Hong Kong national, converted to Islam three years ago and launched his company by the name of Mohsin Industries. He hired hundreds of locals for his company and also married a local woman after converting to Islam.

According to official sources, Mohsin owns a mining company known as Bao-Billion Mining Group Limited. However, his company has been running under the name of Mohsin Industries in Pakistan.

Last week, right after a day after G-B Legislative Assembly passed a resolution against issuance of lease license to foreigners, the G-B Chief Minister Mehdi Shah “secretly” issued a license to Mohsin Industries, which was banned earlier by the government after intelligence agencies had suspicions over its activities in the region. Shah maintained that the federal government had issued the license.

In response, Akhtar said, “The federal government has no role in these matters therefore Shah should not mislead people.”

The grant of license has sparked severe criticism in G-B, as several politicians within Pakistan Peoples Party have also raised concern over the issue, terming it as an attempt to rob the province.  “The chief minister has insulted the assembly by issuing a license to a foreigner,” said opposition leader Bashir Ahmed.

Public Accounts Committee Chairperson Raziuddin alleged that Shah’s son was a business partner of Mohsin.

When contacted, the finance minister said he had received a show cause notice and would submit a reply soon. He maintained his early stance and said he was a public representative who would always fight for peoples’ rights.

Meanwhile, Mohsin Industries has started recruiting hundreds of people for various projects in G-B.

The company’s president, Haji Abid, defended his company and said the company was providing job opportunities to local people. He added that they had acquired the license after going through all legal formalities.

Members of Metals, Minerals and Gems Association have also threatened to launch a movement in the province if the government did not withdraw the license issued to the company.

Published in The Express Tribune.

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