ISLAMABAD: The special security division could not be deployed for the protection of Chinese working on projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor because provinces have yet to give the necessary authorisation for their deployment.
The issue came to surface during a meeting that was called to review progress on the implementation of the $46 billion CPEC projects. The provinces remained reluctant amid renewed challenges to the CPEC from regional powers that see the geo-economic strategic initiative as a threat to their designs.
Officials of the National Highway Authority raised the issue of non-deployment of the Special Force on Thakot-Havelian project of the CPEC. Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal chaired the meeting.
The officials said administrative issues for the deployment of the Special Force have yet to be sorted out. One of the main issues that needs to be addressed is whether the force’s jurisdiction will be the police station or the specific project area, said the officials.
The interior secretary was quoted in the meeting as saying that the provinces have not responded to the letters written to them on the rules of engagements of the armed forces in the execution of the CPEC projects, according to officials of Ministry of Planning.
They said the secretary also stated in the meeting that only Punjab responded to the letter, but it too did not give a clear response and sought more clarifications.
“We have given one-week deadline to Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to give a response to the Ministry of Interior,” Iqbal said while talking to The Express Tribune.
The minister said the committee also recommended the premier to call a meeting of the national steering committee on the CPEC.
The officials said the minister warned that the government will not tolerate negligence by any ministry on the issue of implementation of the CPEC. He again sought to speed up the work on the execution of the projects.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2016.