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Supreme Court of Pakistan
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: During Thursday’s hearing of the Reko Diq case, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said additional documents were used to tamper with the original form of the Reko Diq agreement, DawnNews reported.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar, was hearing the case constituting of identical petitions filed against the federal government’s decision to lease out gold and copper mines in Reko Diq in Balochistan’s Chagai district to the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) – a Canadian and Chilean consortium of Barrick Gold and Antofagasta Minerals. Reko Diq sits over the popular Tethyan copper belt and is known to have the fifth largest deposits of gold and copper in the world.

The chief justice moreover inquired as to what issues sprang up after the passing of several years that new documents had to be released.

Counsel for the TCC, Khalid Anwar, in his arguments stated that the BHP company had not done anything unlawful, nor had it pressurised anyone into signing the joint agreement.

Anwar added that Balochistan's governor had given permission to chairman Balochistan Development Authority (BDA) for the joint agreement.

The counsel said it was not the Balochistan government, but the BHP, which was being plundered as it had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for mineral exploration.

In his remarks, Chief Justice Iftikhar said additional documents had been used to tamper with the agreement's original form.

Chief Justice Iftikhar remarked as to what was the need and the basis to sign the Reko Diq agreement.

He added that in the joint agreement, the BDA was a party and not the provincial governor.

The chief justice moreover inquired as to what was the need to delegate the powers held by the provincial governor to the BDA’s chairman.

Chief Justice Iftikhar added that from 1993 to 2000, no issues had been reported in the Reko Diq agreement. He questioned as to what issues sprang up now that new documents had to be issued.