Members of the Opposition staged a walkout from the Senate session on Friday after what they perceived as the lack of a satisfactory response from the government on key issues related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority, including the meeting of Lt-Gen (Retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa with the Chinese ambassador.
During the session, PML-N Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi and Jamaat-i-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmad questioned in what capacity was Bajwa working and meeting with the Chinese ambassador when the CPEC Authority had no chairman and the CPEC Authority Ordinance had lapsed.
“Is [retired Lt Gen] Asim Saleem still receiving the salary of the chairman of CPEC Authority?” questioned Abbasi.
Ahmad said Bajwa was a “controversial” figure and yet, he was made chairman of the CPEC Authority, adding that there were allegations of corruption against “Papa Johns”, in an apparent reference to Bajwa. He further said that “in the future, no such individual, who has allegations of corruption against them, should be appointed chairman of the CPEC Authority.”
Earlier, Ahmad had also submitted written questions to the Minister for Planning Asad Umar:
Whether it was true that the CPEC Authority was continuing to work despite the lapse of the CPEC Authority Ordinance?
What was the legal nature of the administrative and financial decisions taken by the authority so far? Umar responded that the CPEC Authority Ordinance had lapsed in May 2020 and the CPEC Authority Bill was pending in the National Assembly.