The Supreme Court has made it clear on Tuesday that it would want to settle the gold and copper mining row case on local ground and suspend international proceeding till it gives a final judgement.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heading a three-member bench directed the provincial and federal government to approach the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in London and International Counsel for Settlement on Investment Disputes (CSID) for extending the period of nominations, to give this court enough time to dispose of the matter.
Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) filed for international arbitration in November 2010 to protect its legal rights after Balochistan rejected its mining lease application. The Supreme Court had given Balochistan government the power to decide the fate of the project in view of the rules and regulations.
Raza Kazim, the lawyer of the petitioner Maulana Abdul Haq Baloch, asked the court to stop TCC from going for international arbitration and suggested to resolve the matter in local courts. He requested the court to pass a stay order in this regard.
On the other hand, Khalid Anwar, the counsel for Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), briefed the court that it should refrain from passing any such order.
“The court orders have no compulsion on the international front and it would be disregarded,” he said, adding that the credibility of the court would be damaged internationally. He also said that if the court passed an order in this regard, it may further increase legal complications at the domestic and international level.
During the hearing, the counsel for Balochistan government Ahmer Bilal Sufi told the court that the parties should approach ICC and ICSID themselves and say that their case is in Supreme Court and the government of Pakistan is fully seized the matter and domestic courts are in well position to rule any illegality or unlawfulness in the agreement.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2012.