Islamabad: The unresponsiveness of the provinces is delaying the process of finalizing the Term of Reference (ToRs) for the deployment of Special Security Division (SSD) for the security of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
An official said that, “The Ministry of Interior has contacted all the provinces but except Punjab none of the provinces has so far replied the request to finalize the ToRs.” The meeting on CPEC review was held last week which was under the Federal Minister for Planning Development and Reforms. The main agenda of the meeting was the security of the project.
The SSD will be working under certain ToRs. Since the security of the project is the responsibility of both federal and provincial governments hence the provinces’ input is required for the finalization of the ToRs, the official said. The issue of the ToRs would be brought to the meeting of the steering committee on CPEC and the minister would request the prime minister to convene the meeting of the steering committee on CPEC for resolving the issue.
The steering committee is being headed by the prime minister and all the provincial chief ministers are its members. The government has raised a Special Security Division (SSD) that consists of 13800 security personal for the security of Chinese workers. In order to fund the security measures of CPEC an additional one percent would be added to the total cost of the projects under CPEC. The 2500-km long CPEC will connect the Gawadar Port to northwestern Xinjiang province in China.
Punjab’s reply on the issue of ToRs is also not clear said the official of the interior ministry. It was said that Ahsan Iqbal was angry over the absence of the interior ministry’s official from the crucial security meeting and as a protest he left the meeting however later after the arrival of interior ministry’s official he rejoined the meeting.
The minister directed the interior ministry to establish a security dedicated cell, in the ministry, to work as liaison between provinces and centre and various security agencies on security matters. Confusion faced to the investors on custom duties on various imported equipment was also addressed and the FBR is to establish a Green Channel Cell to facilitate the CPEC investors.
All the ministries were directed for the establishing a response centre in their respective ministries to facilitate companies and media regarding the CPEC. The minister asked the ministries that no delay will be tolerated in CPEC related projects.
In the meeting NHA came up with their projects and was briefing in parts about various projects but the minister told them to bring the complete work plan in the next meeting and tell them exactly about the progress and completion time of all the ongoing projects.