October 4, 2008

Pakistan Rejects US Offer to Conduct Geological Survey Due to Security Concerns

Text of report by Zafar Bhutta headlined "Pakistan rejects US geological survey offer" published by Pakistani newspaper Daily Times website on 4 October

Islamabad: Pakistan has rejected a United States offer of conducting a free of cost geological survey in the country due to security concerns to its strategic assets, sources said on Friday. Petroleum Ministry sources told Daily Times that the US has been insisting 'time and again' on being allowed to conduct of the survey, which could help expose the unexploited natural resources of the country.

The US authorities will also scan the areas being surveyed using satellite equipment that could expose the security assets of Pakistan, the sources said. "This is the reason Pakistan did not allow the US government to conduct a geological survey," they added. The sources said that the US offer had been previously rejected by the former government that cited the same concerns, but US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte had again made the offer to the coalition government during his visit to Pakistan. They said Negroponte had also asked former petroleum minister Khwaja Asif to allow the survey, who had declined the offer after then Petroleum secretary Farrukh Qayum and the IT minister opposed the proposal. The Petroleum Ministry sources said that Pakistan was rich in gas, oil, copper, gold and coal reserves, but needed the geological survey to explore these resources. They said that Pakistan has large reserves of gold and could become the fifth largest exporter of gold if the reserves were exploited.

Originally published by Daily Times website, Lahore, in English 04 Oct 08.

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