Opposition lawmakers staged a walkout from the upper house after receiving what they believed to be an “unsatisfactory” response to their concerns over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority, particularly regarding the meeting of Lt Gen (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa with the Chinese ambassador.
“Is [retired Lt Gen] Asim Saleem still receiving the salary of the chairman of CPEC Authority?” questioned Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khan Abbasi.
Abbassi, along with Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmad, asked in what capacity was Bajwa working and meeting with the Chinese ambassador. They pointed out that the CPEC Authority no had a chairman and the CPEC Authority Ordinance had lapsed.
“In the future, no such individual, who has allegations of corruption against them, should be appointed chairman of the CPEC Authority,” Ahmad added, saying that there had already been allegations of corruption against Bajwa.
According to Minister for Planning Asad Umar, the aforementioned ordinace had lasped in May 2020, and the CPEC Authority Bill was pending in the National Assembly.
Umar had said in reply to questions posed by Ahmad previously that all administrative and financial decisions of the authority were being taken according to the rules and regulations of the related ministries.
In response to the concerns of the opposition leaders, Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar said: “The Chinese ambassador also meets with opposition leaders. There is nothing wrong with meeting a person who has been associated with the CPEC Authority.”
Retorting to their statements of corruption allegation disqualifying a person from leadership roles, he questioned why the opposition wanted Nawaz Sharif to be the premier when he had been involved in the Broadsheet and Panama cases.
Members of the entire opposition found these responses inadequate and staged a walkout in protest.