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Imran Khan ordered to invistigate Reko Diq case

15 July, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday issued orders for the formation of a commission to investigate and fix responsibility for the massive loss borne by Pakistan in the Reko Diq case.

“The prime minister has directed formation of a commission to investigate into the reasons as to how Pakistan ended up in this predicament; who were responsible for making the country suffer such a loss and what are the lessons learnt, so that mistakes made are not repeated in the future,” read a statement issued by the attorney general’s office, a day after $5.976 billion penalties were imposed on Pakistan in the matter by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). A thorough internal review of this long-standing arbitration shall also be conducted in the due course, the statement added.

“The government of Pakistan notes with disappointment the Award by a tribunal of International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in the matter of Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) vs Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The tribunal has rendered an award of US$ 4.08 billion in favour of TCC against their claim of US$ 8.5 billion,” read the statement. “This [attorney general’s] office and other stakeholders, particularly the provincial government of Balochistan, are studying the award and reflecting upon its financial and legal implications,” it continued.

The statement said the Pakistani government shall consult with the provincial government involved to devise a strategy for the future. “For now, the government of Pakistan reserves its right to pursue any and all legal remedies available to it under the ICSID regime, international law and all other relevant laws to safeguard its interests,” it read.

“The government of Pakistan takes note of the press release dated July 12, 2019, made by Antofogasta Plc, one of the parent companies of TCC, and of the statement by William Hayes, the chairman of the board of directors of TCC, in which he expressed a willingness to work towards a negotiated settlement. The government of Pakistan welcomes this approach to work towards a mutually beneficial solution that works for both sides,” it added.

Reiterating Islamabad’s commitment to its international obligations, the statement said Pakistan welcomes all foreign investors and assures them that their lawful rights, interests and assets shall always be protected. “The mineral resources in Reko Diq are the collective resource of the people of Balochistan and Pakistan. Pakistan is keen for development of this resource to ensure that the development needs of some of the poorest people on the planet are addressed,” it said. “International Tribunals are also urged to consider the implications of their decisions and the impact on development and poverty alleviation,” it added.

The World Bank Sunday said Pakistan will have to pay almost $6 billion in damages to a foreign gold mining firm whose dig was shut down by the government in 2011.

The consortium Tethyan Copper company – of which Canadian gold firm Barrick and Chile’s Antofagasta Minerals control 37.5 percent each – is the largest foreign direct investment mining project in the country. More than a decade ago the group found vast gold and copper deposits at Reko Diq in Balochistan, and had planned a hugely lucrative open-pit mine. But the project came to a standstill in 2011 after the local government refused to renew the consortium’s lease, and in 2013 Supreme Court declared it invalid.

On Friday, the World Bank’s international arbitration tribunal committee awarded $5.84 billion in damages to Tethyan, according to a statement from the company, because of the government’s decision to shut down the mine.

it was nuclear physicist Samar Mubarakmand’s statement that determined the extremely high fine awarded to Pakistan. The international tribunal, based on Mubarakmand’s statement, said Reko Diq has assets worth $131 billion and Pakistan can extract gold and other items worth $2.5 billion in order to pay the amount.

Separately, the government of Pakistan paid former British prime minister Tony Blair’s wife one billion rupees after a massive $5.976 billion fine was announced by the ICSID.

After former Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry suspended the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) contract, they approached the World Bank (WB) and Barrister Cherie Blair and her team was hired at an exuberant cost of Rs 1 billion to fight the case for Pakistan.

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