China wants one-window operation for CPEC projects

ISLAMABAD –  China has asked Pakistan to undertake massive legal reforms immediately if it wants timely completion of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The Chinese reservations were communicated to Pakistani parliamentarians during an in-camera briefing by the newly appointed Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, Yao Jing, a key official revealed.

The ambassador during the 26th meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC discussed Chinese perspective and the future role, he said.

He said that it was communicated that Chinese were asking for one-window operationfor all procedures, similar to Jebel Ali free zone in Dubai, where all permissions related to starting any new project can be obtained in one-week time, he said.

The official said that litigation was another reason Chinese were worried about in the port city. “Undue stays delay projects and increase costs, which Chinese are not willing to pay,” the official said.

“It took one-year for the Chinese company to get an environmental assessment report of one project, and with this pace, anyone will get annoyed,” a source said.

He said that Chinese were primarily concerned about the Gwadar port, and the network to connect it with Khunjerab Pass. “Chinese benefit in power and other infrastructure projects is very nominal,” he said.

This is not the first time that concerns have been raised from the Chinese side. According to the source, the demand was also stressed last year at a high-level meeting with Pakistani counterparts in Islamabad.

At an another event in Beijing, China asked the visiting Pakistani delegations to cut down long bureaucratic procedures which were hindering the projects in Gwadar, the source said.

He said that Chinese were very happy with the Punjab government which not only gave them instant approvals but also helped them in getting lucrative tariffs for power projects through NEPRA. He said that Chinese expected similar cooperation in the port city.

Chinese state-owned media has already been reporting Chinese concerns regarding the CPEC.

“Conflict between federal and local authorities, clash of interests between different provinces and partisan infighting have affected the construction of the CPEC”, said an article published in the state-owned Chinese daily Global Times on January 14 under the title, “Reform needed to boost construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor”.

It advised Pakistan to carry out massive reforms. It complained that the Pakistani media was not playing its role in highlighting the corridor related issues.

The writer, a high-level management official, asked Pakistan to do more.

“Pakistan needs to carry out deep reforms in several areas, amend laws and frame corresponding policies, it said, adding Pakistani government needs to free its mind. It should recognize that industrial growth has its own laws,” it said.

It further said that the constitutional amendment and law changes can only be achieved through political negotiations. However, the country was not fully prepared for it.

Is it a real concern or just a do more demand from a friendly neighbouring investor to boost the pace of work, no one from the government was willing to comment.

Parliamentarians refused to say anything on the matter stating it was a sensitive matter and they do not want to jeopardize their relations with the generous neighbouring country.

Ministry of planning officials sought time to get back with a detailed reply. However, after continuous reminders for over a week, the officials did not come up with their version.

Gwadar close to becoming international trading hub: Chinese envoy

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing has said that there was no threat to China Pakistan Economic Corridor, expressing the hope that Gwadar Port was close to becoming an international trading hub.

In an interview with BBC Urdu on Friday, he said law and order situation in Balochistan has improved considerably.

Responding to a question regarding separatists, he said “they are not true Pakistanis”.

He said around 10,000 Chinese nationals were working on CPEC and Beijing was satisfied with the measures taken by Pakistan for their protection.

The envoy said CPEC was in the first phase in which work on 21 project was underway with 20 more projects in the pipeline.

He said the CPEC would be expanded to neighboring countries including Afghanistan.

Responding to a question regarding Pak-Afghan relations and peace in Afghanistan, he said China was desirous of   good relations between the two countries and was making efforts for reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

To a question, he said his country has no influence over  Taliban but it was in contact with Taliban’s political office in Qatar.

He said his country has time and again requested the Taliban to take part in negotiations.

CPEC’s HEC building education city in Gwadar

QUETTA: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) unit of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) held a special consultative meeting to review the ongoing government university and educational city projects in Gwadar.

“Establishment of Government University Gwadar in due time and duration is an important target for all of us,” said HEC head Lt Gen (retd) Mohammad Asghar at the Balochistan University of Information Technology Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEM).

Members of Technical Review Committee, BUITEMS Vice Chancellor Dr Ahmed Farooq Bazai, University of Turbat Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Abdul Razaq Sabir, Quaid-e-Azam University Professor Dr Zafar Nawaz, Balochistan Higher Education Secretary Abdula Jan, senior professors of universities and other government officials were also present on the occasion.

“Best teachers and faculty will be appointed on merit only,” the HEC head said.

The committee discussed employment opportunities which would be provided after completion of the CPEC projects. Special focus was made on provision of technical training to the youth of Gwadar.

In the meeting, comprehensive consultation was conducted for construction and establishment of world class government university in Gwadar and launch of certain educational and technical training programmes and courses.

The consultation process included heads of many government departments, universities, and other institutions of Balochistan so that the people of Balochistan could benefit from the completion of CPEC.

BUITEM vice chancellor said, “Youth and students of Balochistan are not lesser than any of us. We have to equip Baloch youth technically in order to promote economic rehabilitation of the local people.”

Earlier, Bazai had welcomed the meeting’s participants and gave a comprehensive briefing on the modern facilities available at BUITEM