Pakistan suggests bilateral arbitration system for CPEC disputes

Published: July 6, 2017
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PM Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping. PHOTO: PID

PM Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping. PHOTO: PID

ISLAMABAD: Attorney-General Ashtar Ausaf Ali has proposed a bilateral arbitration system for deciding disputes which may arise during the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

A Chinese team, headed by Ambassador Sun Weidong, visited the attorney-general’s office on Wednesday to discuss legal hurdles in the implementation of projects related to the CPEC.

The delegation comprised Vice-Minister for Department of Justice Liu Zhenyu; Inspector Department of Judicial Assistance and Foreign Affairs, MOJ, Hu Yiding; Inspector Bureau of Judicial Expertise, MOJ, Wo Lingsheng; Director-General of the Justice Department of Heilongjiang Province Ren Zengang; and Project Officer of the Department of Judicial Assistance and Foreign Affairs, MOJ, Chen Jingjing.

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Later, the attorney-general told the media that one of the proposals discussed during the meeting was that instead of approaching international forum of arbitration such as ICSID, the two countries should set up a regional arbitration system to decide such issues.

The attorney-general also urged the Chinese team that treaties should be signed on exchange of prisoners. “I also recommended the establishment of a ‘uniform commercial code’ to deal with legal issues relating to the tariffs, customs, goods and roads,” he said.

Ashtar also called for evolving a comprehensive strategy to wipe out ‘organised crime’ after the implementation of CPEC from the region.

He expressed the desire to ensure that legal regimes in Pakistan and China were prepared for the anticipated growth in economic activity involving the two countries.

Both states, he said, should attempt to homogenise laws, acting as a model for mutual assistance and cooperation.

The two sides agreed to appoint focal persons in their countries to facilitate greater coordination, he said, adding that they also resolved to extend cooperation to include mutual agreements not only at the federal, but also at provincial level.

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The visiting delegation welcomed the attorney-general’s suggestion for creating exchange programmes between law students and members of the bars. The two sides also agreed to expedite ratification of agreements and treaties that had already been agreed upon.

Vice-Minister Liu Zhenyu said that cooperation between the two countries had yielded positive results in the fields of science, commerce and diplomacy; and the time was now ripe to extend the cooperation to the field of law.

Later, the Chinese delegation apprised the attorney-general of the role and responsibilities of the Chinese Department of Justice.

The attorney-general also informed the delegation about the role and functions of his office.

The delegation was informed that the attorney-general’s office currently employs 172 lawyers across the country.

 

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