Islamabad: The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing of the presidential reference on the Rekodiq agreement till November 22 (Tuesday).
A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, and Justice Jamaal Khan Mandokhel heard the presidential reference filed in the case. The president — on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had filed the reference to seek the top court’s opinion on the Rekodiq settlement agreement.
During the course of proceedings, amicus curiae Salman Akram Raja said that laws were either federal or provincial, the Minerals Act 1948 was both federal and provincial in nature.
He argued that the proposed amendment to the Minerals Act, 1948 was against the scheme of the Constitution.
On this, Justice Yahya Afridi said why the Minerals Act of 1948 should not be allowed to remain in its original state. He said that the federal government should review the provisions of the federal nature given in the law and the provincial government to review the provincial provisions.
Salman Akram Raja said that the amendments of the Balochistan Assembly could contain temporary legislation because other than gas, oil and nuclear energy, the legislation for the rest of the minerals should be done by the provinces. He argued that a law could be adopted temporarily.
On this, another amicus curiae Zahid Ibrahim argued that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly had brought a law regarding minerals and mining in 2017.
Zahid Ibrahim said that the Rekodiq case began with a newspaper article that was retracted weeks later, and as a result of Pakistani court proceedings, the Rekodiq case went to the International Court of Arbitration.
He said that Rekodiq project would open doors for foreign investment in Pakistan and the project would promote political coordination of past and present governments.
Makhdoom Ali Khan, Barrack Gold’s lawyer, argued that the amendments to the Minerals Act for the Rekodiq project could take two forms. He said that one case was that the court interpreted the Minerals Act as a hybrid law, while the other case was that the proposed amendment of Balochistan province was not encroaching on the federal law.
Makhdoom Ali Khan said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh governments had made amendments in the Minerals Act.
Subsequently, the hearing of the case was adjourned till November 22.