The National Assembly on Thursday extended the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Ordinance 2019 for another 120 days.

The federal government had earlier introduced a resolution seeking an extension for the Ordinance, which expired in June. 

The Ordinance, promulgated by the president on October 8, 2019, had established a 10-member authority tasked to expedite projects along the multi-billion dollar road and rail network that links China to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan.

The authority is mandated with exploring economic growth and unlocking the potential of an interlined production network through regional and global connectivity. 

The Ordinance had been extended by the lower house through a resolution in January 2020 for 120 days. 

Meanwhile, in the Upper House, Senator Raza Rabbani questioned the legal standing of the CPEC Authority now that the presidential ordinance had expired.

The PPP leader made a call to attention on the matter during today's session, questioning the PTI-led government’s handling of CPEC. 

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“How can the authority function when the ordinance has expired?” he asked, pointing out that the authority’s utilization of CPEC funds was illegal.

He accused the federal government of purposefully allowing the ordinance to lapse. 

“There is no law governing the project at the moment. The federal government should introduce new legislation.”

The upper house of Parliament saw commotion as Rabbani finished his argument. 

Responding to Rabbani’s statements, Federal Minister for Information Shibli Faraz insisted that the federal government will now allow anyone to derail CPEC projects.

“We designed the CPEC Authority to make it more efficient. We are here to build the same institutions that you destroyed.”

“We will not let you destroy CPEC,” he added.

Shibli said the government intended to present a bill concerning the CPEC Authority in the National Assembly soon. 

“We can have discussions on it then,” he offered.