Supreme Court appoints friends of court in Riko Diq presidential reference

Barrister Ferogh Naseem, Salman Akram Raja, Zahid Ibrahim Advocate named as helpers of court: Notice issued to BHC Bar: CJP asks govt to make laws of international standards: Remarks access to justice is constitutional right of everyone 

By: News Desk
Published: 04:22 PM, 1 Nov, 2022
Supreme Court appoints friends of court in Riko Diq presidential reference
Caption: File photo.
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The Supreme Court has appointed amicus curiae to help it on the presidential reference related to the Riko Diq agreement, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

A five-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial heard the reference on Tuesday.

The court appointed three persons namely Barrister Ferogh Naseem, Salman Akram Raja and Zahid Ibrahim Advocate as friends of the court in the presidential reference related to the Riko Diq agreement. 

The apex court also issued notice to the Balochistan High Court Bar Association in the case. 

At the outset of the hearing, Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman told the court that in its judgement the court had declared any relaxation in the rules against the law. He said the court had pronounced that the government was not authorized to relax the rules for an international company. 

The chief justice of Pakistan inquired ‘has the government changed the rules or they are still the same’? 

The AAG replied that the rules regarding Riko Diq were changed now and as per the new law, the government could amend the rules.

The CJP, however, reminded the AAG no matter if rules were lenient, there should be transparency in the process. 

Mr Rehman told the court that Pakistan would own 50% of minerals taken out from the Riko Diq mines. 

Justice Jamal Mandokhel remarked no matter how much share Pakistan would get, it was necessary that we abided by the law. 

The AAG said that everything was being done as per the law. He said the new Riko Diq agreement was drafted keeping in view the previous court judgements. 

He said that experts were of the view that it was the best agreement given the current circumstances. Pakistan will have to pay $9 billion in case this agreement is not finalized, he added. 

On this, CJP Bandial chided the AAG telling him to restrict himself to the questions that came under the purview of the court pertaining to the presidential reference only. He explained that the court could review the constitutional questions only as it could not discuss the political and economic questions while hearing the presidential reference. 

The top judge remarked that access to justice was the constitutional requirement. If a third party gets hurt by the international agreement, is it not the denial of its rights, he wondered. 

CJP Bandial asked the AAG why the government wanted to follow the 1970s laws in a venture worth billions of rupees. Why the government does not make new laws of international standards, he wondered.  

The top judge further asked the Balochistan government whether it had made new laws relating to mining. He also asked the AAG to inform the court under which policy or legal framework, the Riko Diq agreement was formed. 

Reporter Amanat Gishkori 

Categories : Pakistan