The government has said that a Special Security Division (SSD) has been established with 15,000 armed forces and paramilitary personnel for the security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
This was stated by Chairman Parliamentary Committee on CPEC Mushahid Hussain after taking a briefing from the Ministry of Defence and Interior on the security of the CPEC projects during an in-camera meeting on Friday. Acting Secretary Defence Admiral Mukhtiar briefed the committee on security measures.
The committee was briefed by the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior on the security of the CPEC and various steps that the government has taken to protect Chinese nationals and Chinese project under the CPEC.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed stated that the security of the CPEC would be ensured and Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would visit China next month.
He further stated that the CPEC summit would be held in Islamabad on August 29 and work on Gwadar airport has been initiated and a university is also being established there.
He added the committee was informed that a 15,000 force, comprising over 9,000 regular soldiers of the Pakistan Army, and 6,000 personnel of the paramilitary force would comprise the SSD for protection of Chinese personnel and projects under the CPEC.
The process with respect to security personnel is expected to be completed in two months and it would cost Rs 5 billion.
The government has allocated Rs 1.3 billion in budget for security division in the current fiscal year. A Major General would be chief of the security division.
An official handout stated the apart from security on land, the government has also taken relevant initiative through the Maritime Security Agency to protect the coast as well as through the Pakistan Air Force.
The Committee directed that pending issues regarding CPEC security particularly the finalisation of Terms of Reference (TORs) between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior be resolved at the earliest.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal invited the members of the Committee to attend the “CPEC Summit” being organised by his Ministry in Islamabad on August 29 to take the private sector on board for active participation in the CPEC.
He termed the CPEC moot a national initiative which would bring private sector of both countries, Pakistan and China together in the construction of the CPEC.
He also briefed the committee about his interaction with provincial governments particularly the Chief Minister and parliamentary leaders of the KPK who, he said, were now satisfied with the projects of the CPEC particularly the construction of the Western route which was going on as planned according to the decision of the May 28, 2015 All-Party Conference.
Ahsan Iqbal told the Committee that the Gwadar-Quetta part of the Western route would be completed by December 2016 while contract for the construction of the Western route through Balochistan and KPK have already been awarded to NLC which would be completed as per commitment by September 2018.
He also said that by that period of middle of 2018, energy generation of Pakistan, thanks to CPEC projects, would be sufficient to overcome energy crisis.
The representatives of the Sindh government and the KPK government said that talks were in progress regarding the land issue of Port Qasim project as well as resolution of the Sukki Kenari land issue.
Responding to the comments of Senator Sardar Fateh Mohammad Hasani regarding the work being done by Ahsan Iqbal for promotion of CPEC, the Parliamentary Committee welcomed his diligent commitment and hard work for promoting the CPEC and expressed the hope that other Ministers of the Federal Government would also be equally active on the CPEC which is a national strategic project.
Senator Mushahid Hussain briefed the committee about his recent visit to China where he attended the Silk Road Forum in Xinjiang province and he said that there was good representation from the provinces of Pakistan in the international forum which is an annual feature.
He also said that the Chief Minister KPK would be visiting China in September and the next Silk Road Forum would be hosted by Pakistan in Islamabad in August 2017.
The meeting was attend by its members, Rana Mohammad Afzal, Ghous Bux Mahar, Alhaj Shahji Gul Afridi, Sardar Fateh Mohammad Hasani, Lieutenant-General Salahuddin Tirmizi (retd), Shibli Faraz, Baz Mohammad Khan and Secretary of the Committee, Khalid Mahmood. -Business Recorder