Islamabad: The Parliamentary Committee on CPEC met under the Chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed. The Committee was briefed by the Ministry of Interior on the security of CPEC and various other steps that the government would be taking to protect the Chinese nationals and Chinese projects under CPEC.
The Committee was told that 15,000 personnel with over 9000 regular soldiers of Pakistan Army and 6000 personnel of the para-military force would be in the Special Security Division (SSD) who would work on the protection of Chinese personnel and projects under CPEC. The Ministry of Interior further stated that SSD is not a standalone arrangement and it is interlocked with the Provincial Police.
All the provincial governments were called by the Federal Government on the deployment of SSD. The Parliamentary Committee conveyed its concerns on the delay on the issue and strongly recommended the government to have a meeting with the provincial governments for finalizing the Terms of References (TORs) of SSD on priority basis.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed presented a report of the Parliamentary Committee’s visit to Gilgit-Baltistan and said that Gilgit-Baltistan is the entry point of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor from the Chinese province of Xinjiang into Gilgit-Baltistan which is why they must be given top priority in development of various sectors in Gilgit-Baltistan. The Chairman said that a meeting would especially be held by the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC on the Gilgit-Baltistan issue where the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan will be invited to meet the Ministry of Planning and Development so that the projects of Gilgit-Baltistan on CPEC are pushed swiftly and substantially.
While briefing the Committee on the role of the Ministry of Commerce, the Additional Secretary, Policy and Planning, informed the Ministry that negations are being done on the Phase-II, China-Pak Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) which would covers goods, services and investments.
Investments have also been made by China in auto, textiles and electronics in Pakistan. FAW Dongfeng group would be manufacturing pickups and vans and they have set up a new plant to manufacture 1300 cc cars. Haier would assembling laptops and mobile phones and a new joint venture in knitwear in Faisalabad from the textile sector from China. Pakistan has to attract more investment from China in labor intensive sectors like textiles, garments, foot wares and paper.
Secretary Planning also briefed the Parliamentary Committee on the visit to China of the Ministers for Planning and Development and Railways who are going to present a comprehensive plan for the up-gradation and dualisation of Pakistan railways as part of CPEC from Karachi to Peshawar with the project being worth for 8 billion dollars.