SC puts off hearing of presidential reference on Reko Diq till tomorrow

By: News Desk
Published: 07:22 PM, 16 Nov, 2022
SC puts off hearing of presidential reference on Reko Diq till tomorrow
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The Supreme Court has adjourned the hearing of the presidential reference on the Reko Diq agreement till Thursday (tomorrow), 24NewsHD TV channel reported on Wednesday.

A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, and Justice Jamaal Khan Mandokhel heard the presidential reference filed in the case.

The president — on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had filed the reference to seeking the top court’s opinion on the Reko Diq settlement agreement.

 The Balochistan government's lawyer Salahuddin Ahmed presented arguments in the court.  

He contended that a 25 percent share of the total capital received from the Reko Diq project belongs to the Balochistan government while 15 percent of the 25 percent of the capital will be held by the holding and offshore company of Balochistan. Balochistan government will get 25 percent capital, 5 percent royalty, CSR, and jobs.

In replying to Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial’s question, he said that two and a half years will be consumed in making its feasibility studies and the project will be started in the next five years. He further pleaded to the court that companies from China, Japan, and Russia had approached for the Reko Diq deal.

However, these companies are not ready to pay the $9 billion fine imposed on Pakistan, he added.

In reply to a question from Justice Ijazul Ahsan, he said the International Center for Dispute Resolution has a case against Pakistan for breach of contract. There is a case of breach of contract against the Balochistan government in the International Criminal Court, the Balochistan government lawyer added.

“If Pakistan does not sign the agreement by December 15, the affected company will take legal action, he added.

Answering Justice Yahya Afridi, he said apart from gold and copper, the lease of all minerals will also be with Barrack Gold Company.

To yet another question Chief Justice of Pakistan, Salahuddin said that the transactions in the Reko Diq deal will be through offshore companies.

Balochistan will get $32 billion in capital from the Reko Dig project in 47 years, Salahuddin Ahmed replied.

The hearing of the case was adjourned till November 17.

Earlier, during the course of proceedings, Additional Attorney General Aamir Rehman said that the Minerals Act, 1948 was not included in the list of federal or provincial laws in the 1973 Constitution and some provisions of the Minerals Act went under the jurisdiction of the Federation, and some provinces.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial inquired whether a law would be under the jurisdiction of both the federation and the province at the same time.

Justice Yahya Afridi asked whether the government could not have amended the Minerals Rules. He questioned why was there a need for amend to Minerals Act, 1948.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar said that laws were not implemented like magic. The same law would prevail which was similar at the federal and provincial level, he added.

Justice Yahya Afridi said that the court would intervene if fundamental human rights were affected by the amendment of the Minerals Act.

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