AGP hails ‘success’ of country and its legal team, noting quantum of ruling could cause great economic hardship
The World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes this week granted a six-month stay on the enforcement of monetary penalties imposed on Pakistan in the Reko Diq mining lease dispute.
A statement issued by the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) on Thursday claimed the decision was a “success” for the country and its legal team, adding a hearing to confirm the stay order had taken place via video-link in April.
In July 2019, a tribunal had imposed $5.97 billion in penalties against Pakistan for denying a mining lease to the Australian Tethyan Copper Company (TCC). According to the statement issued by the AGP’s office, TCC subsequently commenced proceedings for enforcement of the award, resulting in Pakistan challenging it and initiating proceedings for its annulment.
In January 2013, a Supreme Court bench headed by then-chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had declared the mining contract to the TCC for exploration of gold and copper as illegal.
The AGP said a request for the annulment had been formally filed on Nov. 8, 2019, adding that Pakistan had also requested a provisional stay on enforcement. Islamabad was granted the provisional stay upon initiating annulment proceedings.
A final hearing into the matter is set to take place in May 2021, which would decide Pakistan’s appeal against the penalty.
The quantum of the award is the same as the bailout package granted to Pakistan by the IMF, read the AG office statement, adding that if it were enforced, it would cause significant economic hardships.
Adviser to the P.M. on Information Asim Saleem Bajwa also hailed the stay in a posting on Twitter. “Stay order by World Bank tribunal on $6 billion award vs. Pakistan is great relief,” he said.