ISLAMABAD: Khalid Anwar, lawyer for Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), Wednesday told the Supreme Court that an impression is being created that Balochistan bureaucracy that awarded a contract to BHP Billiton was incompetent. The apex court has been hearing petitions challenging the award of a contract to the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) for exploring gold and copper at Reko Diq. Khalid Anwar contented that the bureaucrats of the province in fact were able to entice a foreign company in a region where law and order situation was worst as compared to other parts of the country. He said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto introduced a nationalisation policy in 1972 and made a law not to takeover the foreign companies. He questioned; "Are we treading on a path to drive away the foreign companies?" He further asked; "Are we saying to a company which had spent $460 million on the exploration of minerals in Balochistan to go away?" Anwar said there were more than 20 companies working in Balochistan. He said as the country is terrorist ridden therefore the TCC was getting 75 per cent share as a compensation for the country risk. Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry heading a three-member bench remarked that they never ever discouraged the foreign companies to invest in Pakistan. Justice Sair Ali asked him what course of action should the courts adopt? Khalid Anwar said: "We all are for the common cause which was welfare of people. Earlier, Hafeez Pirzada, counsel for BHP Billiton, briefed the court about the company and the rules under which the BHP obtained licence. Quoting Rule 6 of Balochistan Mining Concession 1970, he said: "Any person may apply for or obtain a prospecting licence but the mining lease should be awarded to a citizen or person or company incorporated locally. He said 1995 and 2002 mineral rules were made with consensus. The government of Pakistan was cognizant of the rules of the mineral industries and it was also conscious of the mining process that the foreign companies were free to apply for and granted licences. Pirzada said the BHP Billiton acted with due diligence, propriety and caution in respect of the Pakistani law. It kept on advising the federal and the Balochistan governments about what steps needed to be taken. Therefore law and the procedural propriety were respected and adhered too. He said several draft agreements were exchanged with the parities. The court observed that not a single suggestion regarding the agreement came from the Balochistan government, as the Balochistan government accepted whatever was sent by the BHP, though with some reservation. The learned counsel said: My client didn't do the arm twisting, but made the requests." Pirzada said the Balochistan government was free and it could decide about the fate of the project of its own but why do they want that court to give them certificate. Justice Sair said the Balochistan government was the owner of the land. Pirzada replied: "My client have sold only the right of exploration." The chief justice remarked that the licences could have been cancelled. The case has been adjourned till March 1, 2011.