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Reko Diq case: lease in national interest, Supreme Court told




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    The Supreme Court on Monday observed that the matter of Reko Diq case would be decided as early as possible mainly because of its high national and international import. While commencing arguments before a three-judge bench of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in the case, Abdul Hafiz Pirzada, the counsel for BHP Billiton, contended that the contract of the project between his client and Balochistan government was made as per Balochistan Mining Rules. 

    He further said the Secretary Mining Balochistan had also endorsed the contract, adding that the Reko Diq agreement was accepted internationally; hence the government of Pakistan should also honour that agreement. Pirzada contended that Tethyan Copper Company Australia (TCCA) had submitted application for Reko Diq lease after it ascertained the existence of copper and gold reserves. 

    One member of the bench, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, remarked that international laws were legislated to protect the interest of global corporations and added that while awarding contract of the project to a foreign company, unnecessary amendments were made in the Balochistan Mining Rules 2002. 

    Pirzada pleaded that if benefit of the reserves in Reko Diq was not taken then it would be of no use; however, he declared the project’s lease to a foreign company was in national interest. In order to substantiate his argument, he referred to a famous statement of former premier Z.A Bhutto, “we will eat grass but will make the atom bomb”. To which, Justice Gulzar cited the example of some African countries. Despite blessed with diamond mines, those countries are among the poorest in the world, according to him. Later, the bench adjourned the hearing of the case till December 18. 

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

     

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