Pakistan mulls options in Reko Diq case

UK high court rejected Islamabad’s plea to raise corruption charges in ICC


Hasnaat Malik July 10, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

Despite the rejection of its plea on corruption charges, Pakistan has various options to deal with the Reko Diq case, wherein the country is facing a massive penalty of $6 billion.

A UK high court on July 6 rejected Pakistan’s plea to raise corruption charges in the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which is hearing the Tethyan Copper Company’s (TCC) case against Pakistan.

A senior government official told The Express Tribune that Pakistan was considering various options, including challenging the UK high court’s decision in a court of appeal.

“We will approach a higher forum against UK high court decision as we want to place new evidence of corruption against the complainant company, the TCC, in the Reko Diq case,” he added.

Though the TCC managed to achieve a huge penalty on Pakistan, it is unable to find a single penny.

The complainant company approached various foreign courts including the British Virgin Islands BVI high court for the enforcement of the award.  However, the BVI court has already rejected the TCC’s plea.

Read more: Virgin Islands court unfreezes PIA assets in Reko Diq case

It has already been reported that a series of efforts are underway for an out-of-court settlement.

Lawyers, who have expertise in international law, believe that the TCC has no viable option except to accept an out-of-court settlement deal.

They say that enforcement proceedings regarding $6 billion award is a time-consuming process and not the best option for the TCC when the country has very limited assets abroad.

The TCC failed to attach the PIA’s assets abroad.

It is learnt that Pakistan has so far faced Rs6 billion litigation cost since 2012.

However, it is also a fact that the present legal team led by Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan is successfully evolving a legal strategy in all matters including the Reko Diq case before the International forum.

It has also been learnt that raising the corruption issue was necessary for many reasons. Not only did it actually happen, but also dragged the case on merits for long enough.

Even if this ground is rejected, Pakistan will suffer no extra loss and will drag in appeal.

Now the case will proceed before the ICC on merits in October.

Various factors are responsible for spoiling the Reko Diq case.

First, the Supreme Court should have avoided intervening into the matter.

Secondly, to secure strategic interest, the security establishment was unable to realise the financial implications of striking down a gold-mining deal with the TCC in the case.

Earlier, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) committee also concluded proceedings initiated by Pakistan for the annulment of $6 billion award in the case.

Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem also took part in the annulment proceedings through video link.

Similarly, the APG also presented his submissions. The decision on Pakistan's annulment plea is still awaited. Sources told The Express Tribune that Pakistan has raised several grounds to invoke annulment proceedings.

Legal experts say Pakistan’s chances of having its $6 billion penalty in the Reko Diq case annulled have received a boost after the ICSID committee set aside a €128m arbitral award slapped on Spain.

 

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