PM orders probe into massive fine in Reko Diq case

International court of settling disputes has slapped $ 6 billion fine on a copper company’s plea

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TAT Report

ISLAMABAD

The government of Pakistan will file revision in the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) against a massive $5.976 billion (Rs944.21 billion) fine in the Reko Diq case.

A team of senior jurists and lawyers led by the Attorney General of Pakistan is given the assignment to prepare a petition for review/revision of the court’s decision.

Besides filing the review petition in the international court, Pakistan government has also decided to launch a probe as to ascertain who responsible for the things to deteriorate to the stage that Pakistan was slapped the huge fine, the biggest in ICSID history.

A press release by the office of the Attorney General for Pakistan, Sunday, said that Pakistan was “disappointed” with the decision and Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed to constitute a commission to “investigate reasons as to how Pakistan ended up in this predicament and who was responsible “for making the country suffer such a loss and what are the lessons learnt, so that mistakes made are not repeated in the future.”

The press release further says that all stakeholders, including the Balochistan government, were looking into the legal and financial implications of the decision “will take a position” on the matter after considering all aspects.

“For now, the government of Pakistan reserves its right to pursue any and all legal remedies available to it under the ICSID regime, international law and all other relevant laws to safeguard its interests,” the statement read.

The international tribunal provides facilities for conciliation and arbitration of international investment disputes. On Friday in a 700-page ruling it announced verdict against Pakistan in the Reko Diq case and awarded a $4.08bn penalty and $1.87bn in interest.

Tethyan Copper, a joint venture between Chile’s Antofagasta Plc (ANTO.L) and Canada’s Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), had discovered vast mineral wealth more than a decade ago in Reko Diq at the foot of an extinct volcano near Pakistan’s frontier with Iran and Afghanistan.

The deposit was set to rank among the world’s biggest untapped copper and gold mines. Tethyan Copper Company’s (TCC) management claimed $11.43 billion in damages.

The company said it had invested more than $220 million by the time Pakistan’s government, in 2011, unexpectedly refused to grant them the mining lease needed to keep operating.

The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled against Pakistan in 2017, but until now have yet to determine the damages owed to Tethyan.

The lawsuit between the government of Pakistan and the international company lasted for seven years. In 2013, the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had terminated the deal.

The only remaining issue in the case was the final penalty on Pakistan, which has been now announced.

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