Pakistan, which is seeing a constant decline in its economic health since Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power, has been pleading with the international tribunal seeking the reversal of a $5.8 billion penalty imposed by an international tribunal for denying a mining lease to an Australian company, saying that paying the fine would hinder its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Tribunal imposed this penalty on Pakistan on the termination of the mining lease of the Australian company. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is shocked to learn of the fine of around 2 per cent of his GDP. They started to plead not to collect the fine.

The Reko Diq district of Pakistan’s Balochistan province is famous for mineral wealth including gold and copper. The Imran Khan government considers it a strategic national asset. The government had cancelled the mining lease granted to Tethyan Copper Corp. Tethyan Copper has an equal stake in Barrick Gold Corporation of Australia and Antofagstow Plc in Chile. Pakistan has appealed to the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Dispute Investments not to charge the penalty

Balochistan government has formed a company of its own to develop the mine. As commodity prices are rising, the local government wants to make the most of the opportunity.  Given the gravity of the situation, Pakistan has expressed its willingness to discuss alternative solutions from the company, but nothing is clear yet. Pakistani officials said they are not directly in contact with anyone and no specific agreement has been reached.

Things worsened during Imran’s tenure

Imran Khan came to power with dreams of a ‘New Pakistan’. The citizens were hopeful that Imran Khan would show something different from other leaders, but he has failed altogether. Pakistan’s economic situation has been deteriorating since his tenure. Even in dealing with the Corona epidemic, his government has failed, and the corruption cases that have surfaced in the coming days have raised anger among the public. The corruption of Asim Saleem Bajwa, a former military officer considered close to Imran, was revealed recently. However, Imran has not removed him from the post of his special assistant. 

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