The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of the presidential reference on the Reko Diq agreement till today (Wednesday), asking the Barrick Gold Company’s counsel to satisfy the court over the project’s transparency. A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, and Justice Jamaal Khan Mandokhel heard the presidential reference filed in the case. The President of Pakistan on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had filed the reference to seek the top court’s opinion on the Reko Diq settlement agreement. During the course of proceedings, Makhdoom Ali Khan, counsel for Barrick Gold Company, argued that the provincial governments could enter into international trade ventures, but could not enter into state-level agreements. The chief justice said that the federal government was also a participant in the Reko Diq project, so there was no issue of the provincial government’s permission to invest. Makhdoom Ali Khan said that Barrick Gold wanted the court’s opinion to avoid legal complications like the previous Reko Diq project as the risk of Pakistan going into default was increasing. He argued that the Reko Diq deal was the largest investment in Pakistan’s history at $4.297 billion. On this, the chief justice asked whether Barrick Gold was also monitoring the economic situation of Pakistan. It would be better to tell the court about the transparency of the Reko Diq agreement instead of intimidating it, he added. Makhdoom Ali Khan said that Barrick Gold was not in the business of bailing out countries from bankruptcy. If the Reko Diq agreement was reached till December 15, Pakistan’s $9 billion fine would be waived, he added. He said that after the agreement, the expected fine of the International Criminal Court would also be removed and the extracted gold and copper deposits would be sent abroad through the port. He said that Barrick Gold would build an underground pipeline from Reko Diq to the port in Balochistan. He said the company would also work on roads and community development in Balochistan. Makhdoom Ali Khan said that the project would provide 7,000 jobs in Balochistan first and 4,000 jobs in the long term.