ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday announced the appointment of retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa as chairman of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPECA) amid the opposition’s criticism of formation of the authority.
According to a notification issued by the Establishment Division, the competent authority appointed retired Lt Gen Bajwa as chairman of the CPECA, which comes under the planning and development ministry. “The new chairperson will get MP-I scale for a period of four years from the date of assuming the charge of the office with immediate effect and until further orders,” it stated.
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Retired Lt Gen Bajwa had served as Commander Southern Command before his retirement. He remained director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations from 2012 to 2016.
The government had established the CPECA through an ordinance in October, before the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Beijing. The basic aim of forming the authority is to ensure timely completion of the CPEC projects. The prime minister has said the CPECA will help ensure coordination among the departments concerned.
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The authority has reportedly been given vast powers to summon any information related to CPEC activities and impose penalties on those who fail to do so.
Opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party, have already rejected the CPECA and termed it a violation of recommendations of the parliamentary committee concerned.
While the PPP criticised the creation of the CPECA and said it undermined the authority of parliament, the PML-N was of the view that it would create problems and complications in collaboration between the ministries and departments. This would create bureaucratic hurdles and limitations that would hamper and stall the CPEC, they claimed.
On Tuesday, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman also criticised the formation of the CPECA and said the government was making the corridor project controversial.
Speaking at a press conference after a multi-party conference, he said there was no need to establish a separate authority for the CPEC project, adding that it negated the parliamentary committee’s decision against such a body. He said the opposition would oppose the authority at all available forums.
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2019