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28 February 2020

Petition, in GB Chief Court, to Challenge Exploration License to Mohsin Industries

The Chief Court of Gilgit-Baltistan has admitted a Writ Petition on Monday for regular hearing wherein the issuance of Exploration Licenses to Mohsin Industries by the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan has been challenged; a Press note, released by Sargin Law Associates, stated. 

The petitioners, M/S Pan Euro International, Bilchar Trade Internation and Skardu Gems and Minerals, have objected that the issuance of licenses to the Hong Kong based company is ‘illegal, unlawful and against national interest’.

Shehbaz Khan a senior Advocate of the region appeared in the court to argue on behalf of the petitioners. The government of Gilgit-Baltistan was represented by the Deputy Advocate General while Mohsin Industries was represented by Avocate Mir Ikhlaq.

The Petitioners charged that Explorations Licenses to Mohsin Industries is an abuse of process, act of discrimination and encroachment on local property rights.

The government of Gilgit-Baltistan has ignored several applications submitted by local, national and international companies — including those of the petitioners — pending for the last three years. While, issuing the licenses to Mohsin Industries, the government has shown extra legal and judicial leniency.

The petitioners charge that in the matter of issuance of the Exploration Licenses, the fundamental rights of the local people — granted in the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009 — have been violated.  The petitioners also contend that the GB government has betrayed its own Cabinet decision that has sought ban on issuance of exploration licenses and mining leases until further orders.

On June 7th this year, the GB Legislative Assembly has passed a resolution that sought an immediate ban exploration and export of precious mineral resources from the region. But the government continued contravening the GB Rules of Business (2009) too.

The petition pointed out the gross violations of Northen Areas Mining Concession Rules 2003 that, according to the petitioners, has been committed by the Mineral Department of Gilgit Baltistan

The petition further contends that Wang Zunyu’s application was processed and approved through extra-ordinary processes despite his application being defective and incomplete. More than 200 other applications, including those of the petitioners, passed through nobody’s table.

Once of the interesting points of the petition was the claim that Mr. Wang Zunyu’s company had submitted a proposal for investment of 70 million Pakistani Rupees in Exploration as foreign national company while section 106 of NA Mining Concession Rules (2003) declares investment at least 300 million Rupees at a small scale mining restricted for Pakistani nationals only.

The petition outlines several provisions of Mining rules abrogated by the Mining Department of Gilgit-Baltistan and Mohsin Industries. The petition also maintains that the controversial company has mined, processed and transported sensitive metals to unknown locations.

In support of the petition the parties have produced several documents that the court may take into consideration. The court adjourned the proceedings for next hearing in February 22, next year.