ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry on Monday briefed the Parliamentary Committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) about the security of the project and the steps taken by the government for protection of Chinese nationals engaged in development word on the key national project.

Meeting Parliamentary Committee on CPEC was held here under the Chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed.

The Committee was informed that a 15,000 dedicated strong force, comprising over 9000 regular soldiers of the Pakistan Army plus 6000 personnel of the para-military force would comprise the Special Security Division (SSD) that has been entrusted with the duty of protection of Chinese personnel and projects under the CPEC.

The Ministry of Interior further informed SSD is not a standalone arrangement. It is interlocked with Provincial Police. All provincial governments were called by the Federal Government on terms of deployment of SSD. The Parliamentary Committee conveyed its concerns on delay on the issue and strongly recommended the government urgently to convene a meeting of all provincial governments for the finalization of Terms of References (TORs) of SSD on priority basis.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed also presented the report of the Parliamentary Committee’s visit to Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and said that GB is the entry point of the CPEC from the Chinese province of Xinjiang.  Hence, GB must be given top priority in promoting development in various sectors, he added.

The Chairman directed that a meeting would be especially held by the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC on GB issue where the Chief Minister, GB will be invited to interact with the Ministry of Planning and Development so that projects of the area on CPEC are pushed swiftly and substantially.

Briefing the Committee on role of Ministry of Commerce, the Additional Secretary, Policy and Planning, informed the Ministry is negotiating Phase- II, China-Pak Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) which covers goods, services and investments. Using Pakistan China FTA Phase-II, the Tariff Reduction Modality (TRM) can be linked with guided investment from China into the manufacturing sector in CPEC. There have been various efforts at investments from China in auto, textiles and electronics in Pakistan. FAW Dongfeng group is manufacturing pickups and vans. They have also set up a new plant to manufacture 1300 cc cars. Haier is assembling laptops and mobile phones. There is also a new joint venture in knitwear in Faisalabad, the first in the textile sector from China. Pakistan has to position itself to attract investment from China in labour intensive sectors e.g textiles, garments, foot wares and paper, as rising labour costs have lead to decline in China’s

competitiveness.

Responding to the different queries and questions regarding Survey Report on Wind Power Generation Capacity in Baluchistan and KPK, the representative of Ministry of Water and Power stated that Alternative Energy Development Board

has boosted the efforts on the already taken steps and measures for the development of wind and solo energy in the subject provinces. Wind and solar resource assessment is already being carried out in Baluchistan and KPK

along-with the others part of the country through Energy Sector Management assistance programmes of the world bank. Under the programme a total of 12

wind measuring masts are being installed in different parts of the country where potential for wind power generation has been identified through satellite data analysis so that renewable energy projects can be promoted.

The Secretary Planning also briefed the Parliamentary Committee on the visit to China of the Ministers for Planning and Development and Railways who are there to prepare a comprehensive plan for the up-gradation and dualization of PRs as part of CPEC from Karachi to Peshawar with the project being worth for eight billion dollars.

The meeting was attended by its members, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, MNA, Dr. Ibadullah, MNA, Mr. Ghous Bux Mahar, MNA Mr. Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, MNA, Senator Sardar Fateh Muhammad Hassani, Senator Lt. Gen. (Retd) Salahuddin Tirmizi, Senator Talha Mehmood, Senator Shibli Faraz and Secretary of the Committee, Mr. Khalid Mahmood.