No rulemaking process started to apply CPEC Act: BHC

QUETTA: Balochistan High Court (BHC) has observed that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Act would only be applicable after framing the Rules but so far the rulemaking process has not been started.

The observation was made in a short order issued by BHC Chief Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail after hearing a petition wherein the appointment of Lieutenant General (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa on the post of Chairman CPEC Authority was challenged.

The short-order stated that the Deputy Attorney General should contact the concerned authorities and thereafter shall inform the court about the process of Rule-Making on the next date of hearing fixed for June 22.

Munir Ahmed Khan Kakar, member of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) from Quetta, Balochistan, had moved a petition in BHC requesting it to declare the appointment of Lieutenant General (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa on the post of CPEC Authority as illegal. 

The member of PBC has arrayed Secretary Establishment, Ministry for Planning, Development and Reforms, private Secretary to the Prime Minister and Lieutenant General (r) Bajwa as respondents.

PBC is an apex body of lawyers in the country and its sole member Munir Kakar from Quetta, Balochistan represents about 6000 advocates of Balochistan in the Council.

The BHC is also requested to issue orders to the respondents for explanation under what provisions of law Lieutenant General (r) Bajwa is holding the office of the chairman of CPEC Authority.

Through the petition, the PBC’s member from the Quetta chapter further requested the court to permanently restrain Lieutenant General (r) Bajwa from holding the office as the same office presently does not exist through any law of the land.

The petitioner also sought details of perks and privileges received by Lieutenant General (r) Bajwa after the lapse of the CPEC Authority Ordinance. He also requested the court to order Lieutenant General (r) Bajwa to return the perks and privilege with interest that he enjoyed even after the lapse of the Ordinance.

On October 8 of 2019, the Federal Government had promulgated an Ordinance for the establishment of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority.

As per Section 3 of the Ordinance, the federal government notified Lieutenant General (r) Bajwa as the Chairperson CPEC Authority, thereafter he commenced his duties, the powers and functions of the authority.

“Pakistan Corridor Authority Act 2020 (A Bill) with no note of dissent by many opposition MNAs the same Bill is pending before the Senate of Pakistan for approval and thereafter the same has to be placed before the president for its approval, as such at present there does not exist any ordinance or act authorizing the respondent No. 4 (Bajwa) to act as the chairperson/chairman of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority, but despite the above fact the respondent No. 4 plans to be the chairman of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority and holding the same office illegally and unconstitutionally by obtaining all the pricks and privileges,” stated the petition.

The petition further stated that Lieutenant General (r) Bajwa with the consent of other respondents is unconstitutionally and illegally performing the functions of Chairman of CPEC Authority. It further maintained that Lieutenant General (r) Bajwa is enjoying the above status by obtaining all the perks and privileges from the public exchequer.

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