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CPEC Authority needs Parliament nod: experts

October 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The CPEC Authority needed to get ratified from the Parliament, otherwise sword of Damocles will keep looming on its final legal status.

The ordinance ‘The authority called “China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority Ordinance 2019”, has taken a birth through Presidential Ordinance, instead of Parliament. It raises various questions of its legal and constitutional status, experts said here on Friday.

The constitution of Pakistan gives power to President to issue any ordinance and make legislation only in emergency particularly when Senate and the National Assembly are not in session and if he is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action.

Because both sessions were not in motion, so President Arif Alvi had no choice but to promulgate CPEC authority Ordinance 2019.

In this process, the breeding fault lines is that like each ordinance, CPEC authority ordinance’s validity will stay for 120 days. It will become null and void if President will not extend it further before the lapse of 120 days. And even Ordinance gets extension a number of times, its legal status will remain hang in balance.

Ultimately Parliament has to approve it or reject it and if Parliament decides to discard, legal life of CPEC ordinance may come to end. This is a vivid pitfall in CPEC authority Ordinance 2019.

This is a gap in the establishment of CPEC authority. Since it has been formed through Presidential Ordinance, whatever the case is Parliament has to approve it or reject it sooner or later,” said by renowned senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, former chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on CPEC and currently working as chairperson of Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Another point to ponder is that since government came to power and passed its Parliamentary time over the last 13 months, all the lawmaking had to be carried out through Presidential Ordinance. As government lacks numerical strength in Senate, it has been continuously avoiding to get approved all ordinances including CPEC authority through Parliament. This practice signifies the fact that CPEC authority might not be approved by Parliament. So if it happens, existence of CPEC authority will remain in tight spot.

Meanwhile, there are question marks on the powers of CPEC authority. From both Chinese and Pakistan sides, debate is heating up on functionality and autonomy of CPEC authority. The growing belief is that given the present bureaucratic mechanism and governance system, if CPEC authority is not given absolute powers to assert its rules of business and its independence is compromised, it will be an exercise in futile.