ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday appointed amici curiae on the President’s reference seeking the validity of the new Recco Dic project agreement. A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsen, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Jamal Khan Mondokel conducted the hearing.
Amici Curiae are Barrister Farogh Nasim, Salman Akram Raja and Advocate Zahid Ibrahim. The court also issued a notice to the Balochistan High Court Bar Association. During the hearing, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that the court cannot review questions of political and economic nature with reference to the President but only legal and constitutional questions.
The Chief Justice made these observations after Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Amir Rehman submitted that the agreement was made in view of the court’s decision in the past. He said, according to experts, the agreement is the best considering the current situation.
The AAG claimed that if the deal was not done, the government would have to pay more than $9 billion owed to Pakistan. Why does the government want to implement the 1970 law in such a huge investment of billions of rupees? Why is the government not making rules on par with international standards? CJP questioned the law officer.
The Chief Justice asked the Additional Attorney General whether the Balochistan government had enacted a new law for mining. The Chief Justice also asked the AAG to inform the court under what legal framework and principles the agreement was entered into.
The law officer submitted that the Supreme Court in its judgment said that the rules were relaxed for an international organization to violate the law, which is not permissible. The Chief Justice asked the Law Officer whether the rules remained the same or were amended.
The law officer replied that the rules for contracts have been amended and the new law will allow the government to amend the rules. The Chief Justice, however, observed that even after relaxing the rules, transparency has to be ensured.
The Additional Attorney General argued that Pakistan would have a 50 percent share in mineral exploration. Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel commented that regardless of the share, the law must be obeyed. The AAG, however, submitted that nothing is being done in violation of the law. The court adjourned the hearing to 1 pm today (Wednesday).