SC summons chief secretaries in Reko Diq case -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

SC summons chief secretaries in Reko Diq case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) Wednesday hinted at completing, before February 19, the hearing into identical petitions, challenging leasing of over $260 billion Reko Diq gold and copper mines in Balochistan to foreign exploration and mining companies by the Federal Government in violation of law.

A four-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is hearing the case. The court summoned the present and former chief secretaries of Balochistan, besides directing the provincial advocate general to submit before the court, the BHP Company’s application for the project and record pertaining to the licence.

Advocate General Salahuddin Mengal told the court that he has asked the mineral director to provide details in this regard. The court also issued notices to the respondents, made by the 26 senators, who had filed an application in the apex court to become a party in the case, besides praying to restrain the respondents from executing the mining agreement with Tethyan Copper Company arbitrarily and in unlawful manner against the fundamental rights of citizens and the national and public interest.

The 26 senators, including Mohammad Azam Khan Swati, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Hyderi, Dr Mohammad Ismail Buladi, Moulana Gul Naseeb Khan, Abdul Ghafoor Qureshi, Malik Rashid Ahmed Khan and Mohammad Ghufran Khan, were also summoned.

The court also summoned the relevant record of the Reko Diq project and hinted that the hearing into the case could be completed before February 19. Raza Kazim, counsel for one of the petitioners, submitted before the court that as per law, the ownership of the project could not be sold out. He informed the court that the BHP, a mining company, first made an agreement for the search of mine reserves in Balochistan in 1996 and later in 2006, it sold out the project to Tethyan Copper Company for $260 million.

Khalid Anwar, counsel for Tethyan Copper Company, while appearing before the court lauded the role being played by the judiciary for taking up important cases and its determination to deal the case pertaining to huge corruption. The learned counsel termed the judiciary as the last hope of the people in getting justice; however, he sought adjournment in the case for a week.

The chief justice, however, observed that if the parties give an undertaking for not extending the project then adjournment could be given in the case. Khalid Anwar submitted that Tethyan Copper Company is bound to get valid licence by February 19. The chief justice observed that the court would try its best to complete the proceedings in the case before February 19. The court adjourned the hearing till Thursday (today) wherein Raza Kazim, counsel for one of the petitioners, would continue his arguments.
Source: The News
Date:1/27/2011