Improving justice system is a big challenge for us: CJP

ISLAMABAD (INP): The Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial while hearing the presidential reference on the Reko Diq project on Wednesday observed that the government should keep international laws in mind while taking any decision, otherwise the company will go to the international arbitration forum.
Umar Atta Bandial further observed that there is a vast difference between the judicial system of Pakistan and the world. “Improving the justice system of Pakistan is a big challenge for us,” he said adding that foreign investors should also trust the justice system of Pakistan.
A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, and Justice Jamaal Khan Mandokhel heard the presidential reference. The president on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had filed the reference seeking the top court’s opinion on the Reko Diq out-of-court settlement deal.
Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial observed that the results of many steps taken to improve the justice system of Pakistan will be seen after some time. Continuing his arguments, Makhdom Ali Khan, counsel for Barrick Gold Corporation, submitted before the court that 85 percent of the payment will be made as soon as the goods reach the port with the Reko Dig project, “The remaining 15 percent of the Reko Dig project will be paid according to the market rate and quality upon reaching the destination,” he added.
He further contended the bench, if any minerals other than copper and gold come out of Reko Dig project, the procedure is mentioned in the contract. “If any rare mineral comes out of the project, the government could buy it at the market rate,” he said. He further contended that if any strategic minerals are recovered from the site, the government will be able to possess it for free, Canadian Barrack Gold’s attorney. Makhdoom Ali Khan told the court that the payment will be made by the company if any land is acquired while the government will provide the facility.
Khan further submitted that the construction and repair of highways will be the responsibility of the government, while the construction of the road from Nokundi to the project will be erected by the company. He added that providing security at the border, province and district will be the responsibility of the government, while the company will be responsible for the security within the project. The raw material from Reko Dig will be sent to the port through the water line, Barrack Gold Company’s lawyer.
One percent of the construction of the Reko Dig project and 0.4 percent of the annual income will be spent on social activities, he said adding that 7500 jobs for construction and 4000 jobs for operations will be provided during the project. If the government terminates any concession, it should not take a secret but open decision through public notice, he pleaded to the court. Justice Muneeb Akhtar observed that Pakistan has 50 percent shares in the project, the conflict will affect Pakistan too.