Reko Diq case: Supreme Court tells federal and provincial governments to review provisions

Picture source - supremecourt.gov.pk

The Supreme Court while hearing the presidential reference related to the Reko Diq Agreement has said that the federal and provincial governments should review the respective provisions given in the law.

A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi heard the presidential reference.

During the hearing lawyer, Salman Akram Raja said that the laws were federal or provincial as the Minerals Act 1947 is both federal and provincial in nature. He argued that the proposed amendment to the Minerals Act 1947 was against the Constitution.

Justice Yahya Afridi asked why the Minerals Act of 1948 should not be allowed to remain in its original state. He also said that the federal and provincial provisions given in the law should be reviewed by the provincial government.

Advocate Salman Akram Raja said that the amendments of the Balochistan Assembly could have temporary legislation as the provinces should legislate for minerals other than gas, oil and nuclear energy. He argued that a law could be adopted temporarily.

On this amicus curiae, Zahid Ibrahim argued that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly had brought a law regarding minerals and mining in 2017. He said that the Reko Diq case had started with an article published in the newspaper which was withdrawn a week later and as a result of Pakistani court proceedings and the case went to the International Court of Arbitration.

Barrick Gold’s lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan argued that there could be two ways to amend the Minerals Act for the Reko Diq project. He said that one case was that the court should interpret the Minerals Act as a hybrid law while otherwise, the proposed amendment of Balochistan province was not exceeding the federal law.

The court adjourned the hearing till November 22.

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