15,000-strong force comprising over 9,000 regular soldiers of Pakistan Army and 6,000 paramilitary personnel will make up Special Security Division (SSD) for protecting CPEC projects, Chinese nationals
A major breakthrough was made on Friday in a meeting where officials from provincial governments of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assured a parliamentary body to resolve issues with the concerned companies regarding Port Qasim Power Project and Sukki Kinari Power Project.
The Parliamentary Committee on CPEC which met under the chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, was briefed on the issue involving the row between various departments of the Sindh government and the Powerchina company.
Documents available with Pakistan Today reveal that the Sindh government has been dragging its feet in handing over the land after registration of Indenture of Lease signed to Powerchina, the company working on the Port Qasim Coal-fired Power Project.
Pursuant to the agreement dated April 23, 2015 signed between Port Qasim Authority and Powerchina company, approximately 200 acres of land in the Eastern Zone of Port Qasim had to be allotted to the project.
It is clearly stated in the PQA Agreement that the “PQA shall have good marketable and completely unencumbered lawful title to the site including all easements and rights of way”.
The Powerchina has paid all the fees, levies, and stamp duties to the relevant authorities of the government of Sindh and approached the registrar to register the Indenture of Lease in accordance with the regulations stipulated by the Sindh Board of Revenue.
However, the officials of the Board of Revenue are dragging their feet by raising objections, claiming that the 200-acre land belongs to the government of Sindh and the PQA is not entitled to lease it.
Additionally, a coordination meeting for water supply to the project was held on November 11, 2015 in Karachi to help resolve the water supply issue between the two sides.
Per documents, the Karachi Water and Sewage Board (KW&SB), Engro-chemical plant near the project site, and the Powerchina Company entered into a tripartite agreement for water supply on December 2, 2015.
Under the deal, provision of water had to be provided to the project on the condition that a No Objection Certificate (NOC) was issued by the government of Sindh. The internal plumbing of the project has been completed, but the Sindh government has not issued the NOC despite repeated requests.
After long deliberations, the officials of the Sindh government and the KP government informed that talks were in progress regarding the land issue of the Port Qasim project as well as for resolution of the Sukki Kenari land issue.
The committee was briefed by the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior on security of CPEC and the various steps that the government has taken to protect Chinese nationals working on CPEC projects.
The committee was informed that a 15,000 strong force, comprising over 9,000 regular soldiers of the Pakistan Army and 6,000 personnel of the paramilitary force will make up the Special Security Division (SSD) that has been entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the Chinese personnel and projects under the CPEC.
Additionally, Rs 1.3 billion has been allocated for CPEC security in addition to the efforts of the provincial governments, the cost of raising the SSD was Rs 5 billion and it took a year to be raised. Apart from security on land, the government has also taken initiatives through the maritime security agency and the Pakistan Air Force to protect the coast.
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.
Briefing the committee, 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 bring the private sector on board for active participation in CPEC. He termed the CPEC Summit as a national initiative which would bring private sector of both countries, Pakistan and China in the construction of CPEC. He also briefed the committee about his interaction with provincial governments particularly the Chief Minister and parliamentary leaders of the KP, 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-Parties Conference.
Ahsan Iqbal told the Committee that the Gwadar to Quetta part of the Western route would be completed by December 2016 while contract for the construction of the Western route through Balochistan and KP 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 in vicinity of over 10,000 MG which would resolve the problem of load shedding and energy crisis.