Monday, May 4, 2015

Dr Malik rejects leasing Reko Diq to third party

May 05, 2015 

Chief Minister Balochistan, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, in strong terms dispelled the impressions of leasing unlocked assets of Reko Diq to third party. There was positive headway in the cases filed by the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) in the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and International Center for Settlement of Investment Dispute (ICSID) against the decision of Supreme Court of Pakistan that stricken down the TCC claim, CM said during a briefing jointly organized for the parliamentarians and media here at Balochistan Assembly. 

Balochistan lawyer Ahmed Bilal Sufi gave detailed briefing about the progress so far made in the Reko Diq case aimed at make deliberations on the future course of action on Gold and Copper Project. ICC and ICSID have endorsed the stance of Balochistan government and rejected application by TCC seeking stay on the leasing of 14 deposits, CM said and reiterated that no decision has so far taken for leasing the unlocked deposits without taking parliamentarians on board. 

He however noted that there would be open tender for international companies interested in investment in Balochistan as now there was no legal binding on government to disposal of the unlocked assets. Balochistan lawyer Ahmed Bilal Sufi while briefing the participants about legal aspects of the case said that Pakistan enjoyed significant success in both international arbitrations. 

As per ICC and ICSID, Balochistan government is free to deal with any company in all deposits in Reko Diq. TCC, claimant who was earlier seeking restoration of leasing license is not limited to seeking its damages, Sufi said adding that now matter is pending with court who would soon announce liability to be paid as damages. 

He noted that to make out of court settlement, which was also suggested by the ICC, we are asking TCC to suspend case from both arbitration so that an amicable solution could be sought out. Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) has been signed between government and TCC aimed at make solution to the issue, he further said. Services of experts were also being hired to work out liability and damages claimed by the TCC in third phase of the case. Bilal said that he had given suggestion to government of Balochistan to upgrade the Mineralogy Centre in the University of Balochistan. 

Earlier, parliamentarians expressed their reservation on the Reko Diq project. The legal aspects were answered by Sufi Bilal while the political questions were replied by the Chief Minister Balochistan. Opposition leader Maulana Wasey and parliamentary leaders of all political parties attended the session.

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