NA committee passes CPEC Authority bill amid opposition

imran khan

ISLAMABAD A parliamentary committee has passed the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority (Amendment) Bill 2020 with majority votes despite heated arguments from the opposition.

The meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Special Initiatives chaired by Junaid Akbar discussed in detail the draft bill and passed it with majority votes.

The committee inquired from the Ministry of Planning that salary package was being given to present Chairman CPEC.The ministry replied that a salary was not being paid to Chairman CPEC and that he had not signed any MoU after the expiry of the CPEC Ordinance.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal presented seven reasons against the creation of CPEC authority. In his dissenting note, Iqbal said the creation of CPEC authority is superfluous and unnecessary, added that the planning minister discharged the role effectively.

Iqbal said creating a separate authority will create confusion and create conflict with the ministers. He said the authority will work parallel to the Planning Commission which will affect CPEC projects.

He said the Board of Investment (BOI), commerce, agriculture, industries, and other ministries should be strengthened instead of creating a separate entity. He added that CPEC secretariat should be strengthened instead of establishing CPEC authority.

The members who submitted their note of dissent against the Bill included Muhammad Sajjad, Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary, Muhammad Junaid Anwar Chaudhary, Sardar Muhammad Irfan Dogar and Syed Agha Rafiullah.

The meeting was also attended by Minister for Planning Asad Umar, MNAs Sher Akbar Khan, Saleh Muhammad, Shaukat Ali, Syed Faiz-ul-Hassan, Nawab Sher, Dr Seemi Bokhari, Imran Khattak, and Muhammad Sajjad.

Meanwhile, the committee directed Higher Education Commission (HEC) to give a detailed briefing on their financial needs so that it could recommend additional funds. The committee further asked the HEC regarding ending scholarships for students who were receiving higher education abroad. The commission replied that they had not stopped the scholarships but the universities all over the world were not accepting foreign students due to the coronaviurs pandemic, 

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