Ex-UK judge to head tribunal to settle IPPs issue

Dispute involves Rs52b with 12 independent power producers set up under 2002 policy

Hasnaat Malik August 31, 2022
It has been learnt that 10 IPPs have nominated ex-SC judge Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday as an arbitrator in the matter. PHOTO: FILE


David Edmond Neuberger, a former Supreme Court judge of the UK, has been appointed as the chairman of the tribunal for the settlement of a dispute involving Rs52 billion with 12 independent power producers (IPPs) set up under the 2002 policy.

Neuberger had served as the president of the Supreme Court of the UK from 2012 to 2017.

He was a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary until the House of Lords' judicial functions were transferred to the new Supreme Court in 2009, at which point he became Master of the Rolls, the second most senior judge in England and Wales. Neuberger was appointed to the Supreme Court, as its president, in 2012. He now serves as a non-permanent judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal and the Chair of the High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom.

Earlier, the PML-N-led coalition government withdrew the nomination of former Supreme Court judge Sheikh Azmat Saeed as an arbitrator.

Also read: Ex-SC judge Azmat Saeed out from IPPs’ case

He was replaced with Maqbool Baqar, another ex-SC judge, who retired on April 4.

Justice (retd) Azmat was part of the bench which disqualified former premier Nawaz Sharif for life.

PML-N supporters also accuse him of forming the joint investigation team (JIT) on WhatsApp in the Panama case.

Justice (retd) Azmat was also heading the bench, which disqualified former PML-N lawmaker Danial Aziz in a contempt case.

The previous PTI-led government had recently appointed him the head of the inquiry commission in the Broadsheet case.

He was also heading the commission on regularisation of housing societies in Punjab.

A notification issued by the law ministry read: "The matter has been discussed at great length and in view of the nature of work, amount of labour involved and the area of expertise, Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar, a recently retired judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, is nominated as an arbitrator on behalf of the government of Pakistan.”

Similarly, the government has engaged a law firm -- AJURIS -- to represent it in the arbitration proceedings.

It has been learnt that 10 IPPs have nominated ex-SC judge Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday as an arbitrator in the matter. Likewise two IPPs have nominated ex-CJP Nasir-ul-Mulk.

The three members tribunal might conduct two separate proceedings because of the appointment of two arbitrators by the IPPs.

These arbitrators, with consultation of the government arbitrator Maqbool Baqar, nominated the ex-UK judge as the chairman of the tribunal.

The tribunal of arbitrators will have to give an award within six months over alleged excess payments with 12 IPPs set up under the Policy for Power Generation 2002.

The tribunal would complete its work within five months and issue an award within 30 days after completing the hearing.

It has already been reported that in September 2020, the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) had formed an implementation body led by the then energy minister to effectuate into formal agreements the revisions in various terms and conditions in connection with the IPPs.

With specific issues of alleged excess profitability, excess saving and illegal gains of certain IPPs operating under the 2002 policy, it was agreed by both parties that the matter be referred to a settlement by way of arbitration.

This was pursuant to the Arbitration Submission Agreement (ASA).