Pakistan wins terror financing case in NY court

In a major legal victory on an international front, Pakistan has won the terror-financing case against the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) in a federal court in New York.

The victory in the case has helped the NBP ward off the threat of billions of dollars penalty, which would have ultimately rendered the bank gone bankrupt.

The bank had been accused of facilitating the transfer of funds that were used to plan and execute an attack on a US military base in Afghanistan.

A senior official in the AGP office confided to The Express Tribune that had the bank lost the case, a fine worth billions of dollars would have been imposed as a penalty, which would have meant bankruptcy for the bank.

Read: Countering terror-financing: bottlenecks

Furthermore, the official said the victory has also spared Pakistan of potential issues it could have faced in the FATF.

Sharing the details, he said the case was handled by the International Disputes Unit of the Office of the Attorney General.

The team was led by Ahmed Irfan. Moreover, it was the same team that helped produce positive outcomes in the Karkey, Reko Diq, PIA and Tuwairqi cases.

According to the allegation, Pakistani citizen Saeed Khan, who was residing in the US, sent money to his hometown Mangora (Swat), an amount which was allegedly used later in a terrorist activity in Afghanistan, killing nine soldiers.

International litigations against Pakistan

For the last one decade, Pakistan has been facing various kinds of litigations at different international fronts . However,  the AGP’s legal wing that looks after international disputes has  successfully resolved big awards against Pakistan through out-of-court settlements. Thouch the country is paying a high price for international litigations against it.

Pakistan has paid $100 million to foreign lawyers during Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) tenure. Similarly, more than $10 million has been spent for this purpose by the by previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on July 12, 2019 awarded massive $5.976 billion award against Pakistan in the Reko Diq case, which is one of biggest in ICSID history.

Tethyan Copper Company’s (TCC) management, the complainant whose contract was terminated, had claimed $11.43 billion in damages.

In 2012, TCC filed claims for international arbitration before the ICSID of the World Bank after the Balochistan government turned down a leasing request from the company.

The litigation continued for seven years.

Former CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s verdict in the Reko Diq case was the first in a series of events that led to the massive award.

In March, Pakistan managed to escape a penalty of $11 billion after reaching an out-of court settlement on the Reko Diq project in the Chagai district of Balochistan after hectic efforts of the AGP office as well as the security establishment.

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The AGP office, especially International Disputes Unit Head Additional Attorney General Ahmed Irfan Aslam, mainly negotiated the Reko Diq deal. Irfan had earlier successfully negotiated a deal in the case of the Turkish company Karkey, in which Pakistan faced a billion-dollar fine.

A new agreement was signed by representatives of the federal government and Balochistan with a delegation of Barrick Gold led by Chief Executive Dr Mark Bristow. As per the terms of the new agreement, the Reko Diq project will be revived and developed by Barrick Gold in partnership with Pakistani entities.

However, it is learnt that the deal has to be approved by parliament as well as the Supreme Court.

According to settlement, 50% of the new project’s shares will be owned by Barrick Gold, while the remaining shares shall be owned by Pakistan, divided equally between the Centre and the Balochistan government.

The federal government’s shares of 25% will be divided equally among three state-owned entities — namely the Oil and Gas Development Corporation Limited (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), and Government Holdings Pakistan Limited (GHPL).

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