Supreme Court Issues Notices To BGC, Balochistan Govt, Others In Reko Diq Case

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to Barrick Gold Corporation (BGC), Balochistan government, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum Company and others on the presidential reference regarding Reko Diq.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Aijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Yahya Afridi heard the presidential reference.

President Arif Alvi, on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, had filed a reference in the Supreme Court to get validation for the new Reko Diq project deal under Article 186 of the Constitution.

During the course of proceedings, Additional Attorney General Chaudhary Amir Rehman appeared on behalf of the Federal government and said that the Balochistan government entered into the Chagai Hill Joint Venture Agreement in 1993 while the Tethyan Copper Company invested $240 million in 2000.

He said that a constitutional petition was filed in the Balochistan High Court against the gold mining agreement in 2006, which was dismissed. The Supreme Court declared the Chagai Hill joint venture illegal in 2013, he added.

He said that Tethyan Copper Company approached the international courts against the Supreme Court’s decision and international courts had imposed 9 billion Dollars fine on Pakistan.

Under the proposed agreement, the Government of Pakistan would get 25% share and Barrick Gold Company would get 50% share, he added.

Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail asked what share Balochistan government would get from Rekodiq agreement. He asked why Barrick Gold Company was getting 50% share. He asked who actually owned Rekodiq? The Additional Attorney General said that the Balochistan government was getting 25 percent share while the federal government was paying them. 104 billion dollars profit would come from Rekodiq agreement, Federation and Government of Balochistan would get 62% profit from Rekodiq agreement, he added.

He said that Tethyan Copper Company needed solid assurance for such a huge investment, if the court did not allow, Pakistan would have to pay 9 billion dollars.

Justice Ijaz asked from where the government of Pakistan would pay 9 billion dollars. On which the Additional Attorney General said that Pakistan was already saving the Roosevelt Hotel situated in New York in the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) case. If 9 billion dollars had to be paid, no foreign investment would be possible in Pakistan, he added.

Subsequently, the court also issued a notice to the Pakistan Bar Council for assistance and postponed the hearing of the matter till November 1.

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