ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday issued orders for the formation of a commission to investigate and fix responsibility for the massive loss borne by Pakistan in the Reko Diq case.
The premier’s directives were communicated in a press release issued by the attorney general’s office on Sunday. The statement comes as the first official response on the $5.976 billion penalties imposed on Pakistan in the matter by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
“The prime minister has directed formation of a commission to investigate into the reasons as to how Pakistan ended up in this predicament; who were responsible for making the country suffer such a loss and what are the lessons learnt, so that mistakes made are not repeated in the future,” read the statement.
A thorough internal review of this long-standing arbitration shall also be conducted in the due course, it added.
“The Government of Pakistan notes with disappointment the Award by a Tribunal of International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) in the matter of Tethyan Copper Company
(“TCC”) vs. Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Tribunal has rendered an award of US$ 4.08 billion in favour of TCC against their claim of US$ 8.5 billion,” read the statement.
“This [attorney general’s] office and other stakeholders, particularly the provincial Government of Balochistan, are studying the Award and reflecting upon its financial and legal implications”.
The July 13 statement said the Pakistani government shall consult with the provincial government involved to devise a strategy for the future. “For now, the Government of Pakistan reserves its right to pursue any and all legal remedies available to it under the ICSID regime, international law and all other relevant laws to safeguard its interests,” the statement read.
“The Government of Pakistan takes note of the press release dated 12 July 2019 made by Antofogasta Plc, one of the parent companies of TCC, and of the statement by Mr. William Hayes, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of TCC, in which he expressed a willingness to work towards a negotiated settlement. The Government of Pakistan welcomes this approach to work towards a mutually beneficial solution that works for both sides,” it further said.
Reiterating Islamabad’s commitment to its international obligations, the statement said Pakistan “welcomes all foreign investors and assures them that their lawful rights, interests and assets shall always be protected”.
“The mineral resources in Reko Diq are the collective resource of the people of Balochistan and Pakistan. Pakistan is keen for development of this resource to ensure that the development needs of some of the poorest people on the planet are addressed.”
“International Tribunals are also urged to consider the implications of their decisions and the impact on development and poverty alleviation,” the statement said.