ISLAMABAD: Federal government is weighing options to deal with recent rejection by a London High Court judge of the Balochistan government defense before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) tribunal that it lacked jurisdiction to arbitrate a dispute in Reko Diq’s mining company over allegations of corruption.
An informed source familiar with the development said Dawn that one of the options could be to challenge the decision of the judge of the High Court of London in the Court of Appeal of the United Kingdom. The International Disputes Unit (IDU) housed in the Attorney General’s office in the Supreme Court building was reviewing the decision and may make a decision very soon, the source said, adding that final approval to challenge decision no. had not yet been taken.
Following a dispute after the government of Balochistan refused the mining license on November 28, 2011, the Australian mining giant Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) Pvt Ltd initiated two arbitrations, first against the province of Balochistan under an arbitration clause of July 29, 1993. the Chagai Hills (Chejva) exploration joint venture agreement and the other against Pakistan under the Australian-Pakistan bilateral investment treaty.
The arbitration against Balochistan Province initiated by TCC – a 50-50 joint venture between Barrick Gold Corporation of Australia and Antofagasta PLC of Chile – proceeded under ICC arbitration rules, while the one against Pakistan started under the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Arbitration Rules).
While raising the plea in the ICC tribunal, Balochistan cited the January 7, 2013 Supreme Court ruling which declared Shejva and related agreements illegal. But the ICC court of October 21, 2014 ruled that the arbitration agreement in the Shejva as well as in the Shejva itself was valid and that TCC could invoke the arbitration agreement in the Shejva besides the court of the ICC had the competence to examine the contractual and non-contractual clauses of the ICC. complaints.
When the decision was challenged by Balochistan, Judge Robin Knowles of the High Court of Justice in London rejected Balochistan’s position in which he referred to the SC decision, saying it was not enough to prove the allegations. corruption since the Supreme Court’s judgment was not based on allegations of corruption in the Reko Diq case.
Likewise, while the province of Balochistan argued that the mining giant had engaged in corrupt practices by bribing senior provincial government officials to secure the joint venture deal and also argued that the ICC had failed jurisdiction, Judge Robin Knowles ruled that Balochistan had lost its right to mount corruption allegations to challenge the jurisdiction of an arbitral tribunal adjudicating on claims relating to the Reko Diq gold and copper mines. The UK court ruled that English arbitration law prohibits parties from raising issues in court that had not arisen in arbitration in the same case.
At the same time, the source revealed that the High Court of Justice of the Commercial and Real Estate Courts of England and Wales, Queen’s Bench Division Commercial Court, is due to consider in September whether the province of Balochistan would be permitted. to provide further evidence of wrongdoing and corruption in the mining agreement. .
Earlier on May 25, Pakistan won against the TCC which initiated proceedings to enforce the July 12, 2019 award of $ 5.97 billion against Pakistan by ICSID in the Reko Diq litigation.
The High Court of Justice of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) had ruled in favor of Pakistan in the case brought for the seizure of the main Pakistani assets abroad, including two hotels in New York and Paris in its international arbitration Reko Diq.
The BVI District Court also ordered the revocation of the interim receiver of the Roosevelt Hotel in New York and the Scribe Hotel in Paris.
Earlier on December 16, 2020, the BVI High Court, by its ex parte order, seized the assets owned by Pakistan International Airlines Investment Limited (PIAIL), including the company’s interests in two hotels, namely the hotel Roosevelt in Manhattan, New York, the United States and the Scribe Hotel in central Paris and froze PIA’s 40% stake in a third entity, Minhal Incorporated.
Posted in Dawn, le 10 July 2021