ISLAMABAD (News Desk): President Dr Arif Alvi has promulgated an ordinance for the establishment of the ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPECA)’, media reported on Tuesday. As per the report, it is aimed at “accelerating the pace of CPEC-related activities, find new drives of growth, unlock the potential of interlinked production network and global value chains through regional and global connectivity”.
In August, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that the government was forming CPECA to ensure the timely completion of the corridor’s projects. He had said that CPECA would help ensure coordination among the departments concerned. “The completion of CPEC will not only benefit Pakistan and China, but also the entire region,” the premier had said, adding that the timely completion of CPEC projects was the top-most priority of the government and CPEC is a clear example of joint efforts and partnership between Pakistan and China. The president’s promulgation of the ordinance for establishing CPECA coincides with Prime Minister Imran’s visit to Beijing which will include talks on the progress of CPEC.
Some officials and observers have said momentum on CPEC projects is slowing, in part due to concerns over the size of Pakistan’s debt and struggling economy, which led Islamabad to turn to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package in July. Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Khusro Bakhtiar at a news conference on Sunday denied there had been any slowdown in CPEC projects. “(There’s) a narrative being built up that they have become slow; I reject it, it’s totally wrong,” he said.
The minister said: “There will be meaningful engagement on all aspects of Pakistan-China relations during the visit”, expressing the hope that it would take CPEC cooperation to new heights so that benefits of Pakistan’s economic progress could reach the people at the earliest. He explained that Prime Minister Imran during his meetings with the president and prime minister of China would take up a number of projects, while technical discussions would follow later this month at the joint working group level and then during the JCC meeting in Nov. Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Monday rejected opposition’s claims about slowdown of CPEC projects, saying the two countries were moving towards the second phase of the mega project. Talking to the media before flying to Islamabad here, he said Pakistan and China were satisfied over the progress on CPEC projects.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was leaving for China on a three-day official visit during which he would hold meetings with Chinese president and his counterpart as well as heads of different companies, who were interested for investment in Pakistan. Qureshi said that Chinese president was also paying a visit to India within next few days, adding that China and Pakistan wanted to consult on different issues before the visit. He said the two friendly countries enjoyed deep-rooted relations and had unprecedented association. Replying to a question, the minister said India wished to blacklist Pakistan at the FATF, adding that Pakistan had presented its point of view before the Asia Pacific Group about the measures taken by the government in this connection. The foreign minister noted that India was not in a position to allow anyone for visiting IOJ&K because of the lockdown imposed by the Indian government for the last 62 days.
He said that US Senator Chris Van Hollen was denied visit to IOJ&K; however, Pakistan facilitated him during his visit to different parts of Pakistan including Azad Kashmir. He said the US senator wrote a letter to US President Donald Trump for his attention toward ongoing situation in IOJ&K. He said Pakistan would welcome world observers who wanted to visit Azad Kashmir to compare the situation in IOJ&K and Azad Kashmir.
To another question, Qureshi said the international human rights bodies had now started criticising rights violations by India in the held Valley. He said that Indian judiciary and media were under pressure from the BJP government; however, the Congress and other opposition parties were opposing the Narendra Modi government stance on the Kashmir issue.