The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Bill was unanimously passed in Pakistan’s Senate on Thursday as opposition members staged a walkout from the house, reported Dawn
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Bill was unanimously passed in Pakistan’s Senate on Thursday as opposition members staged a walkout from the house, reported Dawn. With the passage of the bill now, the CPEC authority gets legal cover.
Earlier in 2019, the CPEC Authority Ordinance, which was promulgated by the Pakistan government, had lapsed as the government failed to pass the bill. The ordinance was reportedly brought under Chinese pressure as it came just before Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s China visit.
The government then again promulgated the ordinance, which too lapsed in October 2020. Opposition leaders in the country accused the government of bypassing parliamentary oversight by taking the ordinance route repeatedly.
However, the government defended the move, saying it would stop delays in various CPEC related projects- a concern also expressed by China on several bilateral meetings.
The bill created a nine-member powerful body, with sweeping powers and legal immunity, to plan, execute and expedite projects being undertaken under the CPEC.
China, which has planned investments of over $70 billion in the CPEC projects across various sectors in the country, has repeatedly complained about the slow implementation of its projects. During the previous government also, these concerns were highlighted and became a flashpoint in the country’s media.
Media reports indicated several leaders, across party lines, in Pakistan expressed their concern over unfavorable terms of contracts negotiated with Chinese firms. Many among them even supported the renegotiation of certain contracts.