SC hears Presidential Reference on Reko Diq project

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Provincial governments could enter in international trade projects but could not sign state level agreements, Barrick Gold’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan said in hearing of Reko Diq presidential reference.

A five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by CJP Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the case on Tuesday.

“Federal government is also having stake in Reko Diq project,” Chief Justice Bandial said. “It is not the issue of investment permission of the provincial government,” CJP said.

“Barrick Gold wants the opinion of the court,” investor’s counsel said. “So as one could avoid legal complications like in the previous Reko Diq project,” the lawyer further said.

“Pakistan’s default threat is increasing, massive 4.297 billion dollars investment will be made in Roko Diq project,” the lawyer said.

“If Barrick Gold monitoring the economic situation of Pakistan,” chief justice questioned. “Tell the court about transparency of the Reko Diq agreement instead of scaring the court,” CJP said. “Don’t tell the court about mistakes of the economists we are suffering from,” Justice Bandial said.

“The nine billion dollars’ penalty over Pakistan will be erased, if Reko Diq agreement signed by December 15,” lawyer said. “An expected penalty from the international court will also wipe out after the agreement,” Makhdoom Ali Khan said.

“Barrick Gold will lay an underground pipeline from the site of Reko Diq in Balochistan to the port,” investor’s lawyer said. “The firm will also build roads and community development projects,” he said.

“The project will create initially 7000 and in long term 4000 jobs in Balochistan,” he added.

The court adjourned further hearing of the case until November 23 (tomorrow).—INP


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