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Thursday December 08, 2022

Supreme Court told errors in previous Reko Diq project corrected

The federal government informed the Supreme Court that the previous Reko Diq project contained numerous errors that were corrected in the new one

By Our Correspondent
November 10, 2022
Reko Diq gold mine in Balochistan province of Pakistan. — Twitter
Reko Diq gold mine in Balochistan province of Pakistan. — Twitter

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that the previous Reko Diq project contained numerous errors that were corrected in the new one. 

A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsen, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokel, heard the Presidential Reference on the new Reko Diq project.

Additional Attorney-General Aamir Rehman, while continuing his arguments, submitted that last year the Balochistan Assembly was briefed in detail on the new project of Reko Diq. After the briefing, the Balochistan Assembly had this year in June made amendments to rules. The law officer said that there were numerous errors in the old project that were now removed to make the new project feasible.

He submitted that the contract for exploration of minerals is only awarded to a company having requisite licence. The AAG submitted that the apex court had declared illegal the previous agreement for Reko Diq as no proper feasibility report of the project was prepared.

Similarly, the law officer submitted that the contract for exploration of minerals was cancelled after the company concerned discontinued it. He submitted that the previous licence of Barrick Gold had expired, which is why a new licence will be awarded to it.

The law officer said that even though Barrick Gold’s licence had expired, not a single company had approached Pakistan for any agreement due to the decision of apex court. He said that apart from Barrick Gold, there are a dozen companies around the globe involved in exploration of minerals.

The law officer said that the court had held that to ensure transparency, fair bids should be held for launching projects. He claimed the court decision had failed to mention that the projects could not be transparent unless bids were held.

At one point, Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial said that China does not participate in such projects, which are launched through a competitive bidding process. Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing for Thursday.

It may be noted President Dr. Arif Alvi had filed a reference in the Supreme Court under Article 186 of the Constitution on the advice of prime minister. Last month, the federal cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, approved the filing of a presidential reference in the Supreme Court to seek its opinion on legal and public-interest issues.

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