BVI High Court orders freezing Pakistan’s assets in Reko Diq case
The unending Reko Diq saga took another turn as the British Virgin Islands (BVI) High Court issued an interim order to freeze Pakistan’s assets, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Thursday.
According to details, sources say it was Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) which had moved the court that issued these orders on the 16th of this month.
In its reaction, the attorney general’s office in Islamabad said the British Virgin Islands High Court’s passed the judgment without listening to Pakistan’s stance. The government would defend the country’s interests using all the available resources, it added.
Earlier in September, the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) had granted a provisional stay on the enforcement of a $5.6 billion penalty awarded against Pakistan in the Reko Diq mining lease dispute.
However, the stay was conditional with Pakistan transferring an amount of $1.5 billion to a foreign bank. But as the stay order’s period expired, the TCC had moved the top court of British Virgin Islands.
Pakistan had filed a request for the annulment of the award rendered by the ICSID on July 12, 2019 in the matter of TCC versus Pakistan. Alongside the plea for annulment, Pakistan had also requested a provisional stay on the enforcement of the award issued against the country.
The controversy and the resultant legal battle were triggered when Pakistan decided to cancel the Reko Diq mining lease for the TCC — a 50-50 joint venture of Barrick Gold Corporation of Australia and Antofagasta PLC of Chile.
A Supreme Court bench headed by then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in January 2013 had declared the mining contract to the TCC for exploration of gold and copper as illegal.