The Ministry of Interior has issued a notification for the establishment of Special Security Division to protect $55bln worth China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Official sources told your correspondent that SSD has been established for the security of CPEC and a notification to this effect has been issued by the ministry of interior. ”The SSD has been assigned with the duty of protecting projects under CPEC and Chinese workers working on these projects,” sources said.
The SSD will be comprised of nine army composite battalions (9,229 personnel) while six civil armed forces (CAFs) wings (4,502 personnel) have also been raised. Agreed TORs (term of references) of SSD have been sent to provinces/special regions for requisition of armed forces/CAFs under Articles 147 and 245 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and under Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
“After requisition from the provinces, deployment order shall be issued by the Ministry of Interior (MoI),” a senior official at Planning, Development and Reforms Ministry said, adding, “One percent of total cost of CPEC projects allocated by MoPD&R, as per the decision of Cabinet Committee on Energy, has been provided in the current PSDP (Public Sector Development Programme).”
The official further informed that the Chinese side has expressed satisfaction on the security arrangements during a meeting held in Beijing on December 29, 2016, co-chaired by Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for PD&R, and Wang Xiaota, Vice Chairman National Development Reform Commission (NDRC).
CPEC is an economic corridor comprising a collection of projects currently underway, at a cost of more than $55 billion. The corridor is intended to rapidly expand and upgrade Pakistani infrastructure, as well as deepen and broaden economic links between Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China. It is considered to be an extension of China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative. First trade activity took place through CPEC on 13 November, 2016, when cargo from China was transported to ships at Gwadar Port, for markets in West Asia and Africa.
According to the updated status of CPEC project post 6th JCC Meeting, there are 12 energy projects under CPEC which are expected to add 5,000 MW of electricity to the national grid by 2017-18. Similarly, the transport infrastructure under CPEC consists of rail-based mass transit system, railways, new provincial projects and new Gwadar projects. Rail based mass transit system includes Karachi Circular Railway, Greater Peshawar Mass Transit and Quetta Mass Transit. The projects also include upgradation of Pakistan Railways ML-1 and establishment of Havelian Dry Port.
New provincial projects include Keti Bunder Sea Port Development Project, Naukundi-Mashkhel-Panjgur Road project connecting with M-8 & N-85, Chitral CPEC Link Road from Gilgit, Shandor, Chitral to Chakdara, Mirpur-Muzaffarabad-Mansehra Road for connectivity with CPEC route, Quetta Water Supply Scheme from Pat Feeder Canal, Balochistan, Iron Ore Mining Processing and Steel Mills at Chiniot, Punjab.
Similarly, new Gwadar projects under CPEC include Gwadar East Bay Expressway, New Gwadar International Airport, necessary facilities of fresh water treatment, water supply and distribution, Technical and Vocational Institute at Gwadar, Pak-China Friendship Hospital, Development of Free Zone, Bao Steel Park petrochemicals, stainless steel and other industries in Gwadar, Development of Gwadar University, and 300MW coal-fired power plant at Gwadar among other projects under the CPEC.
The CPEC involves 3,000-kilometer network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas besides energy projects from Gwadar Port to Kashgar city, northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Proposed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Pakistan in May 2013, the CPEC is expected to act as a bridge for the new maritime Silk Route that envisages linking three billion people in Asia, Africa and Europe.