Despite strong opposition, Pakistan's Senate passes CPEC Authority bill

·2-min read
Representative image
Representative image

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 29 (ANI): Despite strong opposition from members of Parliament, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan-led PTI government has passed the bill for the establishment of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority.

Taking advantage of the absence of many opposition members in the Senate on Thursday, the members of the government brought a supplementary agenda, as the opposition staged a walkout and protested against the move disregarding the protocols for legislation in the upper house, The Express Tribune reported.

Yusuf Raza Gilani, the opposition leader in the Senate, stood against the introduction of the bill, saying that efforts to make CPEC controversial must cease. Noting the importance of the bill, Gilani questioned why the government wanted to make it contentious through a supplementary agenda.

According to experts, the bill contains sweeping powers and legal immunity to plan, execute and expedite projects being undertaken under the CPEC.

The CPEC Authority Ordinance was promulgated by President Dr Arif Alvi in October 2019 before Imran Khan's visit to China. Later, the government had succeeded in getting another 120-day extension for the ordinance, but it finally lapsed on May 31, 2020, as the government failed to get it passed from either of the two houses of parliament.

Later, the government reintroduced the ordinance in the National Assembly in the form of a bill in October last year, reported Dawn.

Apparently, China has forced CPEC Authority on Pakistan because it wanted the army to be directly involved in the CPEC portfolio as Beijing was reportedly irked with Khan's slow movement on the project.

This bill comes at a time when the hype created by the government through projecting the CPEC as a panacea for all problems is rapidly losing steam. Struggling local businessmen lament that Chinese investors are cornering key domestic industries, state assets and businesses to the detriment of Pakistani players and interests.

The creation of jobs for the local youth is an important yardstick for assessing the benefit of any foreign investment in a developing country. However, the CPEC has been a visible failure on this count. (ANI)

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