As there is no let up; another spiteful attempt to discredit CPEC has been unleashed by activating a new and malicious model. The new model does not target merits of projects, rather this time, CPEC Authority Chairman Lt Gen (Retired) Asim Saleem Bajwa is in the crosshairs.

Without any delay, CPEC Authority Chairman shrugged off all allegations levelled against him through his tweets on August 27. Later on, he, who is also working as Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, tweeted on September 03 with detailed written arguments that invalided all bogus accusations. He also appeared on media, answered each and every question and came clean with grace.

Those who have orchestrated viciousness are the same unscrupulous forces who are always hell-bent to cripple blossoming spirit and electrifying momentum in the entire activity of CPEC projects.

Since the launch of CPEC in 2015, there have been numerous attempts of malice and malign to derail the multi-billion development project. From the onset, questions were raised on the transparency and cost-effectiveness of projects. Debt-trap propaganda was overblown. Chinese development footprints were painted as a secretive endeavour to colonise Pakistan. During the PTI government, psychological warfare intensified.

Since, nothing worked as per mischievous attention and CPEC came clean, anti-state forces have now come up with new nastiness which aim to vilify the character of the Chairman of CPEC authority.

Here serious questions come to mind; why does the CPEC Authority Chairman get targeted now? What is the reason behind the character assassination campaign? What sort of purpose is to be served?

Frankly speaking, the answers to all these questions are very simple. From the day CPEC Authority came into being and Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa assumed the charge as its Chairman, CPEC got a new lease of life. A few months back, the impression that CPEC had been slowing down was portrayed. Mischief mongers ganged up to float misleading information that the gulf of a trust-deficit between the leadership of China and Pakistan on CPEC was throwing a spanner in the works. They also tried to misguide the world by spreading misinformation that political parties and the government of Pakistan were not on the same page on the existence and execution of CPEC.

Technical delays in the implementation of projects were exploited and misguided analysis were showcased against CPEC. Anti-state elements strove to dent Pak-China relations through the terror attack at Karachi Chinese Consulate. In the backdrop of such precarious developments, Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa took the charge of CPEC Authority. Proving his brilliance and management skills, he made everybody take notice by restoring the spirit of CPEC as a game-changer.

Another miracle he did was to keep CPEC afloat despite the catastrophic situation surrounding COVID-19, which brought the economy to a halt and development activities in the length and breadth of Pakistan.

Under his dynamic leadership acumen, CPEC’s two hydro projects made the headlines. Kohala (1124MW) and Azad Patan (700MW) Hydel projects have been signed and committed, which clearly expresses the commitment shown by both the Chinese and Pakistani governments and their private sectors including banks in both countries. ML-1 got approved by ECNEC at a cost of $6.806 billion from Peshawar to Karachi (1872 KMs) including Havelian Dry Port and upgrading Walton Academy. These three projects costing $10.9 billion were rolled out in just two months.

The CPEC Authority Chairman’s display of performance came to light when the 80KM two-way Mansehra-Thakot expressway costing Rs 136 billion was opened for traffic recently. It is an extension of the 40 KM Havelian-Mansehra 4-lane Motorway.

Due to his dynamism, 306 KMs Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway (M-6) was approved by ECNEC on BOT basis. With contribution to the construction boom, socio-economic revolution for interior Sindh, it will complete the Peshawar-Karachi Eastern Route. It will also link east Balochistan to the entire Motorway network. A new optic fibre cable was also operationalised from Khunjerab to Islamabad. The next phase will be laid from Islamabad to Karachi and to Gwadar as part of the digital highway plan.

Pakistan started transit trade to Afghanistan via sea route by making the Gwadar port operational. Pakistan has activated the deep-water port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, which offers a much shorter overland link, particularly to the southern regions of Afghanistan, for the rapid delivery of goods.

Keeping in view South Balochistan’s development, 110 KMs 2 lane Khuzdar-Basima N-30 highway construction work continued in full swing. At the cost of Rs 19 Billion, work commenced on October 19. Almost 20 percent of physical work has been completed.

This is just a glimpse of multi-faced progress that has been made under the leadership of Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa as Chairman of CPEC Authority. The pace of progress is all set to accelerate in the coming days, catalysing timely completion of projects. His wonderful performance has hammered in the last nail in the coffin of the enemies of CPEC.