ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday named three amicus curiae to hear the President’s reference seeking the validity of the new Reco Dick project agreement under Article 186 of the Constitution.
A five-member bench of the Supreme Court – headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial – is hearing the President’s reference on the RECO DICK project. The other members of the bench are Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail.
Barrister Farogh Nasim, Salman Akram Raza and Zahid Ibrahim Advocate have been nominated by the court as amicus curiae in the case.
The bench also issued notice to the Balochistan High Court Bar in reference.
Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman said that the court verdict has declared that the rules have been relaxed in violation of the law. The court held that the rules cannot be simplified for an international organization, the AAG said.
Chief Justice Bandial asked, ‘Is the rule the same now or amended? “The law regarding Recco Dick has been amended,” the lawyer replied. “The government can amend the rules under the new law,” he said.
“Despite simplifying the rules, transparency is required,” observed the Chief Justice.
“Pakistan will get 50 percent share in the mineral project,” AAG said. Justice Mandokhail commented, “Whatever the country gets, the law must be applied.”
“Reco-Dick Agreements are framed in view of past court rulings. A better deal could not have been possible in the Reco Dick project under the prevailing circumstances,” the state lawyer said. “Pakistan will have to pay back over nine billion dollars if the agreement is not implemented,” the AAG said.
“The court is limited to the limitations of the questions asked in a reference,” observed Justice Bandial. “The court can only review constitutional questions in a reference, not political or economic questions,” the CJP said.
The Chief Justice asked, “Access to justice is a constitutional right, will it not be injustice if a third party is injured in an international agreement?
Justice Bandyal said, “The Constitution has given every person the right to get justice. “Why does the government want to apply a 1970s law to invest billions,” the CJP questioned. The top judge also asked why the government is not making international standards.
“If the Balochistan government passes a new law on mining,” he asked. “In the absence of a new law, the new record deal will be at the mercy of court orders,” Justice Bandyal observed.
“Under what policy or legal framework has the Reco Dick agreement been framed,” he further asked. The court adjourned the next hearing of the reference till Wednesday, November 2.
In the reference, President Alvi asked the Supreme Court whether Reco Dick’s new deal with Canada-based mining group, Barrick Gold Corporation, was legally safe under Pakistan’s constitution and international arbitration.
The President also asked the apex court whether the proposed Foreign Investment (Protection and Promotion) Bill 2022 would be a valid law under the Constitution.
Reco Dick is one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold mines in the world. The project is being restarted after being stalled since 2011.