The Reko Diq saga: Balochistan wins again
20 February, 2013
Amidst the continuous violence plaguing Balochistan, there is now cause of joy for the Baloch people and the Government.
In the parallel arbitration lodged by the corporation TCC before the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration (ICC ICA), the Tribunal has denied TCC any relief under its interim measures application and has supported the arguments of the Government of Balochistan.
The case before the ICC ICA was lodged in late 2011 and over the course of the year the Government of Balochistan had vehemently contested the same. In an obvious attempt to put pressure on the Government not only did the company TCC make two requests for arbitration (one before the ICC ICA against Balochistan and another before the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes against Pakistan) but had also made two similar requests for interim relief. Instead of capitulating to the pressure, the Government of Balochistan and the Federal Government contested the arbitrations and the interim relief applications and has now won the interim relief application in the ICC ICA.
Through the interim measures application TCC wanted Balochistan to stop its plans for working on the H4 deposit in Reko Diq in the interest of Balochistan and Pakistan, claiming that Balochistan would damage the area and that TCC would suffer irreparable harm. The legal team representing Balochistan, comprising of Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi ASC, Mr. Arthur Marriott QC, Ms. Cherie Booth QC, Ms. Mahnaz Malik and Mr. AmanUllah Kanrani Advocate General Balochistan vehemently contested the case. Dr Samar Mubarakm and gave witness testimony before the ICC Tribunal.
The legal team was successful in proving to the Tribunal that TCC would not suffer any irreparable harm if Balochistan were allowed to continue with its plans. In fact, it has now been established that Balochistan is working on the site for the benefit of the Baloch people and Pakistan in general. It is also established that Balochistan would suffer more loss than TCC if it were ordered to stop its plans. The ICC Tribunal should be commended for giving weight to and deciding on the matter in view of the representations made by the Government of Balochistan over the speculation offered by TCC.
The government had previously won in ICSID on a similar interim measures application and the ICSID Tribunal had also given weight to Pakistan's representations and had allowed the Balochistan Government to continue with its plans for Reko Diq. Later the Supreme Court held that the TCC contract was illegal, void and non est after hearing and rejecting TCC's arguments. The detailed judgment of the Supreme Court is awaited but it has been established by the Supreme Court that TCC does not have any rights over Reko Diq under the contract. There is now no obstacle for the Government of Balochistan to exploit the natural wealth of the Province for the betterment of the people.