Reko Diq mining and judicial activisism

Recently, Honorable President Dr. Arif Alvi on the advice of Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has accorded his approval to a summary for filing of reference regarding the Reko Diq project in the Supreme Court of Pakistan under Article 186 of the Constitution of Pakistan. According to details, the government sort explanation from the Apex court regarding an earlier judgment of the Supreme Court in the case regarding the Riko Deq project.

Reko Diq project is the sad story of mismanagement and politicization of national issues along with unnecessary judicial activism which cost billions of dollars to the country besides massive embarrassment at the global level. Historically, the Balochistan government concluded an agreement with an American firm Minerals Immidaite Exploration Inc. in 1993 with a revenue share ratio of 75:25 for BHP and Balochistan government respectively. Later, Tethyan Copper Company Pty Limited (TCC) replaced the NHP in 2006 with the same terms and conditions. Interestingly, no new agreement was signed by the government regarding Reko Diq in 2006 and the matters were managed by the companies themselves. But a cases were filed in the Supreme Court accusing the Provincial government of relaxing the rules and granting mineral titles to former Riko Deq contractor BHP under the agreement of 1993.

After countless court hearing and lot of public debates, finally a three member supreme court bench struck down the Balochistan government contract with the foreign firm while declaring it contrary to the public law. The Tethyan company went to International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and slapped Pakistan will penality of $ 5. 84 billion. Ironically, both Federal and Provincial government did not apprised the court about binding cluases of the contract while the court was also interested in upholding public sentiments instead of ascertaining legal obligations of the country.

Recently, the government has renegotiated the agreement with Tethyan and both sides agreed on same provisions with revised revenue share ratio of 50:50 percent both for TCC and Balochistan government. Currently, the Federal government seeks legal opinion from the Apex court to avoid further litigation in the future. In fact, the politicization of fiscal and adminstrative matters by the politicians and hyperpatriotism of adjudicators had plunged the national economy into a collapse, while Reko Diq, WAPDA, K-Electric, Steel Mills and Pakistan Railways all are living examples of such regretable policies. Hence, it is suggestble to all influential to uphold national interests, and respect law instead of supporting party politics and populism.