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Pakistan Army’s Ex-Media Chief Named First Chairman of Multi-Billion Dollar CPEC Project

© AP Photo / Anjum NaveedPakistan Navy soldiers patrol in Gwadar port, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) west of Karachi, Pakistan, 11 April 2016.
Pakistan Navy soldiers patrol in Gwadar port, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) west of Karachi, Pakistan, 11 April 2016. - Sputnik International
New Delhi (Sputnik): The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a pilot project of China’s Belt and Road initiative, is a planned network of connectivity comprising roads and railways linking China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan's strategic Gwadar Port.

Pakistan on Wednesday appointed the former head of its military's media wing Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) as the first chairman of the CPEC Authority - which is tasked with promoting the timely completion of the project.

Lt. Gen (Retd.) Asim Saleem Bajwa will head the CPEC authority responsible for monitoring, evaluating and implementation of the project-related activities.

The authority was set up ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Beijing in October, where he had assured China of its determination to complete the mega-corridor project.

The CPEC body, set up through a presidential ordinance, saw resistance from 'sthe joint parliamentary committee on CPEC, which opposed setting up the authority through a presidential decree.

The authority has been conferred with absolute power to ask for any information related to the China-led project and impose penalties for failing to do so, media reports said.

The deployment of the retired army chief as CPEC authority head comes after Pakistani military’s initiative to raise a division headquarters of the 44th Light Infantry in Balochistan Province’s Gwadar to coordinate security initiatives and protect the CPEC.

Meanwhile, the political parties in Pakistan have been divided over the formation of the corridor authority itself.

While Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was against giving its constitution, another political party of the country, Pakistan Peoples Party, said the formation of authority is a violation of the recommendations of a parliamentary committee.

Sharif, chief of Pakistan's Muslim League Nawaz, had said it would hinder collaboration between Ministries and departments. Both the parties claimed it would obstruct or hamper the multi-billion dollar project.

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