Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): The Supreme Court on Friday declared an agreement for the revival of the long-stalled Reko Diq mining project as legal.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial announced the 13-page verdict after a five-judge larger bench of the apex court reserved its decision on November 29.
The verdict read that the federal and provincial governments had made the agreement with expert opinion and that the Balochistan Assembly was taken into confidence. It also stated that elected public representatives did not object to the agreement either.
The court also observed there was no illegal clause in the contract, and the Canadian mining firm had assured that labour laws would be enforced and ensured corporate social responsibility.
In March of this year, Imran Khan, who was the prime minister at the time, announced that the Pakistani government and two international firms — Antofagasta PLC and Barrick Gold Corporation signed an agreement for the development of the Reko Diq mine in Balochistan, saying it will create 8,000 new jobs for the people.
“I congratulate the nation and people of Balochistan on successful agreement with Barrick Gold for development of Reko Diq mine,” Imran Khan tweeted.
In October, President Dr Arif Alvi, on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, filed a reference in the Supreme Court, seeking its input on the deal.
The president had asked two legal questions in reference: (1) whether the Government of Balochistan or Government of Pakistan can enter into an international agreement as per Supreme Court’s Judgment, in Molvi Abdul Haq vs Federation of Pakistan 2013 Case, and (2) if the proposed Foreign Investment (Protection and Promotion) Act 2022 would accord to the constitution?