ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday restrained the Balochistan government from awarding any company a mining lease in Reko Diq till the court announces its verdict in the case.
Advocate General Balochistan Salahuddin Mengal submitted before the four-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that the Government of Balochistan has instructed him to categorically state that it will not grant a mining lease to any company till the court’s verdict without prejudice to their legal rights.
Petitioner Barrister Zafarullah submitted that according to Dr Samar Mubarak Mund Pakistan has the requisite expertise to mine Reko Diq, therefore foreign companies should not be granted excavation rights. “A company which has not disclosed the feasibility report cannot be expected to share its technology.”
The Chief Justice directed the counsel to argue on the legal aspects of the case.
The case should also be viewed in a historical perspective, counsel for the Sanjrani tribe, Ahmad Raza Kasuri argued. TCC is a resurrection of the East India Company.
Gold and copper reserves in Reko Diq were discovered by foreigners and they made all the investment, Justice Ramday observed.
The murder of a Chinese engineer in Balochistan was a conspiracy to sabotage the relationship between Pakistan and China but Beijing foiled the attempt, the counsel argued.
“The Balochistan Government is vested with the authority to sell or gift land belonging to the tribes without their permission,” Kasuri questioned the bench. “What rights do the tribes have in the administrative control of the province?”
The chief justice asked the counsel to present his formulations in light of the Constitution. The tribes do not constitute separate states, he observed.
The court adjourned the case till February 8.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2011.