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EditorialExploring Riko Dik case

Exploring Riko Dik case

A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandyal affirmed the revised Reko Dik project contract as legally and environmentally sound. According to the ruling, the Foreign Investment Bill applies not only to the connected business, Barrick Gold but to any corporation investing more than $500 million in Pakistan. Pakistan has avoided paying a $11 billion punishment as a result of this court judgment, which allows provinces to amend mineral exploration rules. This decision and agreement include the implementation of wage regulations as well as full consideration of workers’ rights. The case has been plaguing Pakistan since 2011, when a local court invalidated an exploration agreement with a foreign business, prompting the country to petition the International Court of Justice. Our authorities should have held talks with petitioner Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), which sought $11.43 billion in damages, after the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) imposed a massive verdict of $5.976 billion against Pakistan in the Reko Diq case in 2019. After the Balochistan government denied the company’s request for leasing, the company filed claims in international arbitration before the ICSID in 2012. In the ensuing proceedings, Pakistan was fined $11 billion. After a party violates a contract with a foreign company, it is difficult for the respondent to avoid paying the penalty for not adhering to an international tribunal’s rulings.

There are natural resources in every area of Pakistani territory. If anything is being exploited, it is agriculture and farming because they are visible to the sight, but geological explorers and scientists who are looking for hidden riches say it is easy to assume that the land contains treasures even though there is no current estimate of their value. One of these is the Balochistani district of Chagai, referred to as a “showcase” of minerals. Due to its significant gold and copper reserves, this region known as Reko Dik near the border of Afghanistan and Iran is drawing the interest of foreign investors. Experts estimate that the fifth-largest gold deposits in the world lie here; nevertheless, because of poor management, these gold and copper riches have given rise to legal disputes between Pakistan and foreign investors. The Reko Dik case began in 1993 when the entire management was turned over to an American business with the intent of exploring mineral reserves here for gold, copper, and other metals. Due to the dissolution of the enterprises and the Balochistan government’s worries for the public and development interests there, more investors later brought the issue before international forums. When issuing the license in 2002, the Balochistan government stipulated that the company would not refine any minerals received from this country elsewhere and that Balochistan would get more than 25% of the profits.

The Balochistan government and the Canadian company Barrick Gold signed an agreement to restart the project in March of this year. Under the terms of the agreement, Barrick Gold will invest $10 billion in Reko Dik and receive $11 billion in compensation. The project is expected to generate thousands of jobs, more than $100 billion in income, and additional tax revenue. It is the duty of the Federation and Balochistan to monitor its administrative aspects in accordance with the rule of law. The development and prosperity of Balochistan and its people are their rights, which were emphasized by the Supreme Court in the form of the Reko Dik Project by making an appropriate decision.

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