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SC seeks explanation on mining rights to Tethyan in Pakistan

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 16, 2012 | Last Updated: 7 years ago
Posted: Nov 16, 2012 | Last Updated: 7 years ago
SC seeks explanation on mining rights to Tethyan in Pakistan

Staff ReportISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry said Pakistan is a sovereign country that is capable to defend its law.He was heading a three-member SC bench hearing Riko Diq case after it took up another petition filed against intervention from the International Court of Arbitration and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on the Reko Diq mining lease dispute for hearing. It should be mentioned here that the court, during the last hearing, took up the new petition and merged it with the older one as identical petitions in the Reko Diq case against the federal government’s decision to lease out to foreign companies gold and copper mines in Balochistan’s Chagi district.The CJ Chaudhry queried the counsels if the Riko Diq agreement could be challenged at any international mediatory forum.Raza Kazim, the counsel of the petitioner Maulana Abdul Haque Baloch, who is also one of the petitioners in the main Reko Diq case, argued the government’s trade conflicts s are tackled at world arbitration forums, adding Pakistan should not partake in the arbitration forum taking Tethyan Copper Company Pakistan (TCCP) as a party to the arbitration.He asserted that it is a transparent and legal contract that could get a company a status of financer; but, the Riko Diq contract is illegal and based on corruption.Advocate General Balochistan Amanullah Kanrani said the agreement with the BHP was intended only for search of reserves.The chief justice said the court seeks satisfactory explanation as to how Tethyan company was given mining rights in Pakistan, adding the government is responsible for any loss, if some incurred caused by the arbitration.The court, adjourning the hearing till Monday, directed the court will hear arguments on the legal status of the contract during the next hearing, adding the legal justification for transfer of the agreement from BHP to Tethyan Pakistan, would also be discussed. Petitioner Baloch, during the previous hearing stated that the international arbitration court did not have the authority to hear the dispute. His counsel Kazim said no arbitration pact exists between the licensing authorities and the concerned companies. –SAMAA

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