Proposed law to make Gen Asim Bajwa immune from accountability in CPEC

A new law to replace the defunct China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Ordinance is on the cards, according to media reports.

The proposed draft of the new law approved by the Cabinet Committee for Legislation Affairs grants indemnity to CPEC Authority from all kinds of investigations carried out by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Under the new bill, the CPEC Authority will report directly to the prime minister instead of the Ministry of Planning and Development. The post of chief executive will be removed under the new bill.

Criticising the development, PMLN Vice President Mohtarma Maryam Nawaz Sharif asked whether Gen Asim Bajwa had fallen from the sky and asked which crimes and loot was being hidden for this to come forth.

The report further says that some powers of the CPEC Authority chairman, including his authority to form business council, have been withdrawn in the draft bill.

It is worth mentioning that Asim Saleem Bajwa, chairman of the now-defunct CPEC Authority, was accused of financial misdoing in an investigative story about alleged suspicious growth of his family’s wealth. Opposition parties have demanded an investigation into the report and said that Asim Bajwa should come clean on the allegations. Bajwa denied the allegations in a rebuttal but chose not to go to court.

The CPEC Authority Ordinance, 2019 was promulgated by the president last year for the formation of the ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPECA)’. In January 2020, the National Assembly passed a resolution by the government to extend the ordinance for 120 days. But as of now, the ordinance no longer exists as it was not further extended by the government.

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