Reko Diq case: Hearing on enforcement of $6b award to resume today

The British Virgin Islands high court will resume hearing on the enforcement of $6 billion award in Reko Diq case against Pakistan on Thursday (today).

The Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) on November 20, last year sought attachment of these assets for enforcement of the $6 billion award that the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) slapped on Pakistan on July 12, 2019, for revoking the TTC contract for mining at Reko Diq in Balochistan.

BV Island high court Justice Gerhard Wallbank, while passing the order on December 10, 2020 attached certain assets of the country institutions. It is reported in the media that the BVI court had restrained to sell two PIA hotels, namely Roosevelt and Scribe, owned by the national carrier.

The Express Tribune has learnt that there will be a further hearing regarding the matter on January 7. However, the same order shall be expired on January 8 unless continued by further order of this court.

Read more: Pakistan wins stay over $6 billion penalty in Reko Diq case

The Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) office has already evolved a strategy to present Pakistan’s stance before BVI court.

Earlier, the ICSID stayed the enforcement of the $6b award and on September 17, issued a 70-page order which said the stay shall continue on a conditional basis.

Sources revealed to The Express Tribune that the high court of the British Virgin Islands passed an ex parte order on December 16 regarding the attachment of certain assets of Pakistani institutions.

The ICSID stayed the enforcement of the $6b award and on September 17 issued a 70-page order which said the stay shall continue on a conditional basis.

The arbitrator ordered Pakistan to provide an “unconditional and irrevocable” bank guarantee or the letter of credit (LC) for 25 per cent of the award, plus accrued interest as of the date of the decision.

The guarantee or the LC was to come from a reputable international bank based outside of Pakistan, which was pledged in favour of the claimant — the TCC — and to be released on the order of the ICSID.

The ICSID also held that if Pakistan could not furnish the security and undertaking in terms as set out within 30 days after notification of the decision, the stay of enforcement in the amount of 50 per cent of the award, plus accrued interest as of the date of the decision would be lifted.

However, Pakistan missed the deadline and did not deposit 25 per cent bank guarantee.

After the British Virgin Islands high court’s order, the office of AGP said that the Pakistan government is vigorously contesting the matter with all legal resources available to it and is also engaged in settling the matter actively.

“Without prejudice to such engagement, it is reiterated that the government of Pakistan shall vigorously pursue proceedings initiated by the TCC in any jurisdiction and the government reaffirms its commitment to protecting national assets, wherever they may be located,” AGP said statement.

The TCC had initially claimed $11.43 billion in damages for the termination of their contract but Pakistan’s incumbent legal team was able to limit the sum to $4.08 billion. In 2012, the TCC filed a claim for international arbitration before the ICSID of the World Bank. The litigation carried on for seven years.

The former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhary’s judgment in the Reko Diq case was the first in the previous government’s tenure. The incumbent PTI-led government has already spent $10 million as legal expenditures on this case

(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)