Federal govt, provinces should review respective clauses in Minerals Act: apex court
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The Supreme Court while hearing the presidential reference on the Reko Diq project has directed that the federal government and the provinces should review their respective clauses in the minerals act, reported 24NewsHD TV Channel.
A five-member larger bench of the apex court led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the reference on Monday.
President Arif Alvi, on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, had filed the reference to seeking the apex court’s opinion on the Reko Diq out-of-court settlement deal.
During the hearing, a friend of the court, advocate Salman Akram Raja told the court that there are two types of minerals laws federal and provincial. “The Minerals Act 1947 is both federal and provincial in nature, he said, adding that the proposed amendment to the Minerals Act, 1947 is contrary to the scheme given in the Constitution.
Justice Yahya Afridi proposed that why not let the Minerals Act of 1948 remain in its original form? Thus, federal and provinces should review their own clauses of the minerals act, Justice Yahya Afridi upheld.
Salman Akram Raja told the court that the Balochistan Assembly can bring temporary amendments to the legislation. “Apart from gas, oil, and nuclear energy, other minerals should be legislated by provinces, said Raja. A law can be adopted temporarily, Salman hinted.
Giving arguments, another friend of the court, Zahid Ibrahim told the court that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa brought a law regarding minerals and mining in 2017. “The Reko Dig case began with an article published in the newspaper, which was retracted weeks later,” Ibrahim said, adding that as a result of the Pakistani court action, the Reko Diq case went to the International Court of Arbitration.
Zahid Ibrahim further submitted to the court that the Reko Dig project will open doors for foreign investment in Pakistan. This project will promote political harmony between past and present governments, he added.
Counsel for Barrack Gold Makhdoom Ali Khan said that we can adopt two ways for bringing amendments to the Minerals Act for the Reko Dig project.
In the first case, the Court can interpret the Minerals Act as a hybrid law and in another case, the proposed amendment of Balochistan province is not violating the federal law, Makhdoom Ali Khan pleaded.
“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh governments have already amended the Minerals Act, Makhdoom Ali Khan,” he added.
The court adjourned the further hearing of the case till November 22