Opp demands parliamentary oversight on CPEC

  • PPP co-chief calls APC, evolves consensus on taking parliamentary leaders into confidence over issues of national importance


At an all parties conference (APC) hosted by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday night, politicians from major opposition parties have called for parliamentary oversight for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to avoid any controversy over the projects of national significance.

The demand was floated by Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Secretary General Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed.

A source who attended the meeting told Pakistan Today that almost all the political leaders were unanimous over the fact that the CPEC was a national issue which should not be made controversial at any cost.

“It seems that all the political parties want a piece of the cake, that is CPEC,” the source said, adding that none of the parties which attended the APC wanted to harm the Chinese investment but urged the government to make the projects “transparent”, taking the political leadership into confidence.

The source said that former president Zardari extended full support to the Chinese investments in Pakistan, saying that no party or the government should try to take ownership of the Chinese investments which were not for a specific government or province but for entire Pakistan.

Another politician who attended the meeting said that during the APC, Senator Sayed proposed that a parliamentary oversight committee should be formed having representation of all political parties to monitor the CPEC route and other issues.

“The bi-partisan committee should be fully briefed by the government over the design and scope of CPEC and its projects so that all political parties may be made aware of the actual situation. Moreover, besides the oversight committee, all the parliamentary leaders should also be briefed over the CPEC,” the source added.

“In response to the proposals floated by Senator Sayed, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar promised to take up the matter of an oversight committee of the parliament with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Moreover, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal promised holding an in-camera briefing over CPEC for the parliamentary leaders,” the source added.

However, PPP co-chief’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar viewed that the APC had turned into an informal forum of political parties across the political divide to discuss issues of national importance ranging from CPEC to provincial autonomy and National Finance Commission (NFC) award to election reforms.

In his opening remarks, former president Zardari stressed the need for developing political consensus on issues of national importance based on transparency. Without broad-based political ownership of mega economic projects and policies, the economy will not progress, he said.

“Zardari said that it is important that the political forces join hands, identify issues of critical national importance, seek to develop consensus on them and respecting each others’ mandate, raise the threshold of mutual tolerance,” he added.