During Friday’s hearing of the Reko Diq case, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said the issue would have to be taken to its logical conclusion.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, heard the case constituting of identical petitions filed against the federal government’s decision to lease out gold and copper mines in Reko Diq in Balochistan’s Chagai district to foreign companies.

During the hearing, Raza Kazim, counsel for petitioner Maulana Abdul Haque Baloch, said the matter was becoming very complicated, adding that the International Court of Arbitration was going to issue its ruling on the issue.

Kazim said the agreement and the investment pertaining to mining at Reko Diq was suspect, adding that, it was “tainted and riddled with corruption”.

The counsel said the Australian High Commissioner had informed the Pakistani government in its response that the Reko Diq agreement was not between two governments but between two companies.

Kazim added that the response from the Australian authorities was worrisome. He requested the court to issue an order on the issue of international arbitration and added that no international arbitration forum had the authority to intervene in the dispute.

In his remarks, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said the issue would have to be taken to its logical conclusion and inquired how the agreements were transferred.

During the proceeding, Advocate-General Balochistan Amanullah Kanrani said the international arbitration forum had clearly asked as to who would compensate the loss incurred by the Balochistan government in case the agreement was terminated.

Responding to which, the chief justice asked that if the agreement was transparent, how the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) was claiming its right in the matter. He said Pakistan is a sovereign country that is capable to defend its law.

The chief justice said the court seeks satisfactory explanation as to how Tethyan company was given mining rights in Pakistan, adding the government is responsible for any loss, if some incurred, caused by the arbitration.

The court, adjourning the hearing till Monday, directed that the court will hear arguments on the legal status of the contract during the next hearing, adding the legal justification for transfer of the agreement from BHP to Tethyan Pakistan, would also be discussed.