ISLAMABAD - National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reform was on Tuesday informed that the decisions taken by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority could not be challenged in any court of law.

The NA body that met with Junaid Akbar, MNA, in the chair had recommended discussion on the CPEC Authority (Ordinance No.XII of 2019) Ordinance, 2019 (Government Bill) in the National Assembly for further legislation.

However, officials of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives informed the committee that the CPEC Authority enjoyed legal immunity and its decisions could not be challenged in any court of law.

When Syed Agha Rafiullah, MNA, commented that the concept of legal immunity amounted to a sign of no-confidence in the courts, officials of the Law Division, however, clarified that despite the legal immunity, the Authority officials would be answerable for their wrongdoings.

Neelum Jhelum surcharge to be rescinded after commercial operation, NA panel told

“The immunity is not unlimited, and the allegations of corruption or wrongdoings on the part of Authority officials could be taken to the courts if there existed solid proofs of corruption or a wrongdoing in question,” Law Division official informed.

The committee was further informed that the CPEC Authority consisted of a CEO, six members and two executive directors.

The Neelum Jhelum Power Project chief executive informed the NA body that as per the decision of ECC of the cabinet, Neelum Jhelum surcharge would be rescinded at the achievement of commercial operation date of the whole project.

He further informed that the Central Power Purchasing Agency Guarantee Limited (CPPAG) had approved raise in the invoice for the energy supplied to grid through WAPDA.

Dasu Hydropower project director submitted to the committee progress report on the project. The committee members directed him to share with them details of the progress made on the project every month.

The committee recommended to WAPDA that it should build and run hospitals, schools and provide roads and other necessities to those affected by the Dasu Dam.

The committee members agreed that the transfer of technology should be a priority while entering into any agreement with China or any other country.

When the committee was told that almost 30, 000 Pakistanis were studying in China in different disciplines; it recommended approaching the Government of China for building universities in Pakistan so that foreign exchange could be saved.

The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives secretary, on the occasion, briefed about implementation on recommendations of the committee.

The Committee deferred “The General Statistic (Reorganizations) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 due to official engagement of the mover.

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Sustainable Development Achievement Programme (SDAP) were also discussed at the meeting, and the committee stressed that there should be uniform development in all the areas of Pakistan, especially in backward/rural areas.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Sher Akbar Khan, Saleh Muhammad, Syed Faiz-ul-Hassan, Shaukat Ali, Nawab Sher, Muhammad Sajjad, Sardar Muhammad Irfan Dogar, Naveed Dero, Syed Agha Rafiullah, Abdul Shakoor, and senior officers from the Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform, Water Resources, Law & Justice, CPEC, Mansehra commissioner, Dasu Power Project CEO and Neelum Jhelum Project CEO.