In the long running case filed by a Turkish power company against the Pakistan government, the decision has come against Pakistan. The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) arbitrated the dispute. While deciding in favour of the Turkish power company, Pakistan will pay $800 million in damages to the firm. Pakistan is found guilty of not only breaking the contract but also the appropriation of assets.

Though sources say that the sum of money that Pakistan is bound to pay is negotiable, yet, the assumption is that rounds of negotiations will not make much difference as far as the range of damages are concerned. These are huge sums, one that exceed the several foreign aid tranches we have received in the past. In any case, the government will pay the amount agreed upon by both the parties. It is futile to ask who will pay such a huge sum of money, as it is evident that ultimately it is the taxpayers of this country who will bear the costs.

Although the government will and should negotiate with the firm to bring down the damages, it is more important to hold those people accountable who committed negligence in the first place. It is said that the company went to ICSID as the Supreme Court declared all the rental projects illegal. However, what is not mentioned is that Supreme Court held all such contracts illegal because rules and procedures were violated in awarding the contracts for the supply of electricity. The Supreme Court while deciding a suo moto case had already held the finance ministry, WAPDA, PEPCO and GENCOs responsible for causing massive losses to the public exchequer while awarding contracts to the foreign firms.

It is time those who were implicated by the Supreme Court back in 2013 be made to pay. People like Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Liaqat Jatoi, who oversaw the projects, and the bureaucrats, who approved faulty tenders – all need to be held accountable.