It is only natural that disputes of civil and criminal nature will arise with an inflow of Chinese workers and officials in large numbers for execution and operations of the multi-billion dollars project China Pakistan Economic Project (CPEC). Financial disputes may arise. Disagreements over how to execute any particular plan can surface. The courts need to intervene and settle disputes related to CPEC. To avoid any violation of rules, procedure and law of the country, the law of the land authorises the courts to issue stay orders on CPEC projects. However, succumbing to pressure put by China, country’s top judicial policymaking body National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC), has stopped lower courts and high courts not to issue stay orders as far as CPEC related projects are concerned.

It is appreciable that the judicial policymaking body understands that excessive and unnecessary stay orders affect the speed of completion of any project, however, directing the courts of the country outright not to issue ex parte is nothing short of bending the rules and removing court protection in favour of CPEC. While it is true that stay order hampers the speed of a project, it is also true that stay order is an essential tool in the hands of the judiciary to dispense justice. Stay order as a tool in the hands of courts deter organisations from not breaking the rules.

CPEC and related project are not immune to the possibility of corruption, malpractices and financial discrepancies. Courts cannot rely on any other way but issuing a stay order to avoid illegalities and irregularities involved in any project. Some irregularities and illegalities have already been reported in one of many projects of the economic corridor. In the case of a road project of CPEC in Balochistan, i.e., Zhob-Mughalkot Road, National Highway Authority is already involved in a controversy. Rules and procedures were violated to award the construction contract to firms with higher rates. Thus awarding the contracts was illegal. Now reports are that because of poor construction standards road under Package-I is severely damaged.

Keeping such issues in consideration, it is not a wise opinion at all to bar lower courts, and high courts from issuing ex parte stay orders. It is better if a project completion faces delays rather than complete disasters. Instead of directing courts not to issue stay orders for such orders hamper the pace of development, it is better to come up with a dispute resolution mechanism that is swift so that unnecessary delays in CPEC related projects can be avoided.