PIA wins, British court orders releasing of all assets of national carrier

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TNV Monitoring Desk

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TNV Monitoring Desk

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) achieves a landmark victory after the announcement made by the British Virgin Island High Court for withdrawn orders to freeze the offshore assets of Pakistan International Airlines as settlement in the Reko Diq case, giving back control to the airline.

Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan shared a statement, calling it a “great level victory for Pakistan”.

“Receiver removed from Roosevelt hotel, NY and Scribe hotel, Paris,” read the statement, referring to the hotels that PIA owns abroad and the control of which was sought as compensation against the cancellation of a copper and gold mining license.

In November 2020, the Tethyan Copper Company (TTC) approached the BVI High Court of Justice for enforcement of the $6 billion award in the Reko Diq case and on December 16, the court, through an ex parte order, had attached assets belonging to the Pakistan International Airlines Investment Limited (PIAIL) including Roosevelt Hotel in New York, Scribe Hotel in Paris, and froze 40% of PIA’s interest in Minhal Incorporated.

As per Geo news report, In September 2020, Pakistan won a stay on the enforcement of the award and ICSID said the stay shall continue on a conditional basis. The arbitrator directed Pakistan to provide an “unconditional and irrevocable” bank guarantee or the letter of credit (LC) for 25% of the award, plus accrued interest as of the date of the decision.

Pakistan, however, missed the deadline and did not deposit a 25% bank guarantee.

Meanwhile, responding to the development, PIA said that justice had prevailed and thanked the people of the country for their prayers.

What is the Reko Diq dispute?

TCC is a 50-50 joint venture of Barrick Gold Corporation of Australia and Antofagasta PLC of Chile. The Reko Diq district in the southwest of Balochistan is famed for its mineral wealth, including gold and copper.

The ICSID tribunal had taken up the dispute between Pakistan and the TCC after the latter claimed $8.5bn when the mining authority of Balochistan rejected its application for a multi-million dollar mining lease in the province in 2011.

According to details available on Tethyan’s website, the Reko Diq Mining Project was to build and operate a world class copper-gold open-pit mine at a cost of about $3.3 billion. The company says its 1998 agreement with the Balochistan government entitled it to the mining lease, subject only to routine government requirements.

The project stalled in November 2011 after the application was rejected. Pakistani officials say the mining lease was terminated by the government because it was secured in a non-transparent manner.

By then, the company had invested $220 million in Reko Diq. The mining company sought help from the World Bank arbitration tribunal in 2012, and it ruled against Pakistan in 2017, rejecting an earlier decision by the Supreme Court.

 

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