BVI court accepted Pakistan’s sovereign immunity to unfreeze PIA’s assets: Farogh

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Law and Justice Dr Muhammad Farogh Naseem on Wednesday said the High Court of Justice in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) had unfrozen the assets of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) after accepting the sovereign immunity of Pakistan in the Reko Diq award case.

Addressing a press conference here, he termed the decision a great victory as the BVI had sustained Pakistan’s point of view regarding sovereign immunity.

He said the Supreme Court of Pakistan had suspended the Reko Diq contract with the Tethyan Copper Company over charges of corruption. If a contract was secured through corruption then it was not called an investment in the international law and usually the courts suspended such contracts, he added.

“I want to congratulate Prime Minister Imran Khan, cabinet members, Attorney General Office, head of International Dispute Resolution Ahmed Irfan Aslam and in particular all the persons, who had contributed their services for the vindication of Pakistan’s stance in the Reko Diq Award case,” he said.

Dr Farogh said when the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government came into power in August 2018, it inherited a plethora of issues. The economy was in a shambles, while cases against huge awards given by international courts in the Reko Diq ($ 6.5 billion), Karkey dispute, Broadsheet and Nizam of Hyderabad Deccan case were pending.

He said the Reko Diq case, where PIA’s assets were attached by the BVI court for implementation of its verdict, was not resolved in one day. The PTI government adopted a strategy from the day one and the Law Ministry remained fully focused for the cause of the country.

Pakistan got a success in one battle and the government would continue its fight till its last day for winning other cases also, he added.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan formed a committee headed by the law minister on August 22, 2019 on the international cases, including Reko Diq, which worked vigorously. It visited the United States and the United Kingdom and had discussions with the lawyers there on the matter. He said he had discussed the doctrine of sovereign immunity with the international lawyers. Former Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan and the incumbent Khalid Jawed Khan, he said, also contributed their efforts.

“Above all the head of International Dispute Unit Ahmed Irfan Aslam played a very effective role not only for the Reko Diq case but also in the settlement of Karkey dispute, and in recognition for his services the government had awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz to him,” he added.

The minister also appreciated the cooperation of PIA Chairman Air Marshal Arshad Malik in the case.

He said the doctrine of sovereign immunity was an important point, which had been given up by the Pakistan Peoples Party government in the Nizam of Hyderabad Deccan case.

He said he highlighted the sovereign immunity issue before the BVI court. The Law Ministry also engaged the Tethyan Copper Company and informed them that Imran Khan’s government would not allow anyone to mint money, he added.