Published On: Wed, Nov 30th, 2022
Published in Category: Court / Court News

SC reserves its opinion regarding the presidential reference on the Reko Diq mining case

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday reserved its opinion regarding the presidential reference on the Reko Diq mining case.

A five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial, completed the hearing on the matter on Tuesday. Other members of the bench include Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Khan Afridi and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail. The apex court stated that it will announce its judgment next week.

On the advice of the prime minister, the president filed a reference in the SC under Article 186 of the Constitution, requesting the apex court to evaluate two key questions.

The president requested the apex court to decide “whether the earlier judgment of the SC reported as Maulvi Abdul Haque Baloch v. Federation of Pakistan, laws or public policy prevent the government of Pakistan and the government of Balochistan from entering into the Reko Diq Agreements or affect their validity.” The second question posed by president is that “if enacted, would the proposed Foreign Investment (Protection and Promotion) Bill 2022 be valid and constitutional or not”.

Earlier this week, the government urged all stakeholders to complete pending actions hampering the conclusion of the $900 million settlement deal in the Reko Diq case by December 15, as it eyed the SC for an early decision.

The December 15 deadline is sacrosanct to avoid a $5.9 billion penalty in return for a settlement deal with Antofagasta and Barrick Gold in the infamous Reko Diq mining case.

“The finance minister highlighted the importance of the early completion of the remaining steps under the agreed arrangement. He also stressed upon all concerned to ensure that the deadline of December 15 is successfully met and the project is revived the earliest after the settlement,” according to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Finance.

Depending on the SC judgment, the government will get the Investment Protection Bill passed by parliament. The State Bank of Pakistan will issue a no-objection certificate (NoC) to set up an offshore holding company. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) on Friday incorporated the Special Purpose Vehicle to give effect to the settlement deal with Barrick Gold.