Last update: Mon, 23 Jan 2017 07am
Home » Agriculture & Allied » Pakistan

Reko Diq case: Balochistan government was never party to agreement, Supreme Court told

The Supreme Court was told on Thursday that no documentary evidence was found that Balochistan government appointed chairman Balochistan Development Authority (BDA) to act as agent of the provincial government in the Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA).

Resuming his arguments in Reko Diq case, the counsel for Balochistan government, Ahmer Bilal Soofi, said that provincial government was never a party to that agreement. This bench asked why there was need to submit additional documents after seven years smooth functioning of the agreement if this was the case.

"Everything was alright from 1993 to 2000 in Reko Diq agreement, then why addendum agreements were filed by the foreign company," the bench inquired. A three-judge bench of the apex court, led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed was hearing the Reko Diq case. The Chief Justice observed that additional documents (addendum) were filed to tamper with the original agreement on Reko Diq mining lease, which showed BDA was a party to the agreement and not the provincial governor.

Concluding his arguments, Khalid Anwar, the counsel for Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), contended that Chairman BDA had approved the CHEJVA after getting approval from the provincial governor. Anwar said that BHP Billiton was awarded the contract without any pressure, adding that it was not Balochistan government, but the BHP, which had spent a substantial amount of money on the exploration.

Soofi maintained that that the CHEJVA was executed in violation of the provisions of Mining Rules 1970. He said it was not the prerogative of provincial government. According to him, only federal government can enter into an agreement with a foreign corporation interested in mining. "BHP Billiton was not registered with the Corporate Law Authority (CLA) in Pakistan on the date of execution of the CHEJVA," Soofi added. He said that no other court - local or international -except for Supreme Court of Pakistan could decide the legality of the CHEJVA since it was seized of the matter for the last five years. The hearing of case was adjourned till December 21 (today).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012