SC questions TCC’s rights without Balochistan govt’s consent


Hearing the Reko Diq case on Tuesday, the Supreme Court (SC) asked how could the Tythen Copper Company (TCC) be given rights solely by the BHP without obtaining consent from the Balochistan government and despite it having rights in the project as partner of the joint venture agreement (JVA) made for the project. A three-member SC bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed resumed hearing into the case. Khalid Anwar, counsel for the TCC said the Balochistan government had enhanced the area for mineral exploration and awarded a contract of 44,000 kilometres of land instead of 13,000 kilometres in its own interest.
He said the Balochistan government failed to explore gold and copper reserves, adding that the foreign company had invested huge funds for the exploration in the last 10 years. Justice Gulzar said the Balochistan government was not a part of amendments made in the licence as the governor’s stamp was missing on the agreement. Anwar said the Balochistan government never denied the document. The chief justice said there was nothing on record that shows that the governor had approved it, adding that the governor was bound to follow the advice of the chief executive under PCO. Advocate General Amanullah Kanrani informed the court that the TCC had received documents before the government of Balochistan and departments concerned did. He said he himself had received the copies while the original documents were in the TCC’s custody. He said a separate case could be registered against the company if the documents were produced before the SC. The chief justice asked Anwar that the amendment on which he was depending should be checked for its authenticity. Kanrani told the court that the record was not in possession of the Balochistan government. Anwar said the chief minister sent a summary with amendments for approval in May 1999 and it was included in the Balochistan government’s documents presented to the SC. The chief justice observed that the summary was not approved but it was suggested that a committee should be formed to look into the matter. The chief justice said the court knew the validity of every document, adding that the Balochistan government was part of this case and we could not exclude it from the case. The bench adjourned further proceedings until Wednesday (today).