ISLAMABAD: The counsel for Balochistan told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the reconstituted Reko Diq joint venture agreement was an exceptionally good deal for the province, which would stand to reap substantial benefit from the project.

“Not only will the province get 25 per cent share in the project, but also 5pc royalty, besides uplift project and economic development through corporate social responsibility with zero risk and negligible cost,” emphasised Advocate Salahuddin Ahmed before a five-judge SC bench that had taken up a presidential reference.

In addition, he said, Balochistan will receive $32 billion during 47 years of mining life in the area.

Justice Yahya Afridi, a member of the bench, asked if there was any provision in case other precious minerals were discovered during excavation, or would the company only be restricted to copper and gold.

Counsel says Barrick Gold enjoys exclusive rights in case of discovery of other minerals

The counsel replied that Barrick Gold Company (BGC) would enjoy exclusive rights in case of the discovery of other minerals.

“So essentially it is an open-ended deal,” Justice Ijazul Ahsan said.

Justice Jamal Mandokhel wondered what would happen if someone challenged this exclusivity in the future.

“That is why we are before the Supreme Court,” the counsel said, explaining that in view of the regional security concerns, it was imperative to have the presence of security agencies in the area, but within the mining area, the investor would be responsible for the security of its installations.

Salahuddin Ahmed explained that out of the 25pc share of Balochistan, the provincial government would hold direct control of 10pc share, whereas the rest of 15pc would be held offshore holding companies, which would also be owned by Balochistan.

Also, the provincial government would have the access, scrutiny and audit of the accounts of these holding companies, the counsel explained, adding that it was a requirement of the financing companies that the entire process should be done through offshore companies.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, who was heading the bench, observed that financial and legal auditing should be of international standards.

The counsel, however, assured the court that Balochistan would have oversight and the right of audit of all processes in the project.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2022

Opinion

Rule by law

Rule by law

‘The rule of law’ is being weaponised, taking on whatever meaning that fits the political objectives of those invoking it.

Editorial

Isfahan strikes
20 Apr, 2024

Isfahan strikes

THE Iran-Israel shadow war has very much come out into the open. Tel Aviv had been targeting Tehran’s assets for...
President’s speech
20 Apr, 2024

President’s speech

PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari seems to have managed to hit all the right notes in his address to the joint sitting of...
Karachi terror
20 Apr, 2024

Karachi terror

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five...
X post facto
Updated 19 Apr, 2024

X post facto

Our decision-makers should realise the harm they are causing.
Insufficient inquiry
19 Apr, 2024

Insufficient inquiry

UNLESS the state is honest about the mistakes its functionaries have made, we will be doomed to repeat our follies....
Melting glaciers
19 Apr, 2024

Melting glaciers

AFTER several rain-related deaths in KP in recent days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has sprung into...