ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the newly formed Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been convened on April 16 for election of its chairman without waiting for nominations from the Senate, according to media reports.
A notice issued by the National Assembly Secretariat says that the 14-member Parliamentary Committee on CPEC meeting will be held at 3pm on April 16 “for election of its chairman”.
A list attached to the notice contains the names of 14 members from the National Assembly only, while there is no mention of any senator despite the fact that NA Speaker Asad Qaiser had constituted the committee in pursuance of motions adopted by the National Assembly during its sitting on Feb 21 and the Senate on March 1.
The speaker had last week notified the formation of the parliamentary committee to oversee the ongoing projects despite reservations by senators over the move.
The committee, according to the notification, comprises 14 MNAs and seven senators belonging to all major parties having representation in parliament. The names of seven senators were to be included in the committee when they would be nominated by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in pursuance of the said motions, according to the notification.
The members from the National Assembly are: Noor Alam Khan, Sher Ali Arbab, Sadaqat Ali Khan, Umer Aslam Khan, Mir Khan Mohammad Jamali and Zile Huma of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Ghous Bux Khan Mahar of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Ahsan Iqbal, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Syed Imran Ahmed Shah and Mehnaz Akber Aziz of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), Raza Rabbani of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Zahid Akram Durrani of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) and Muhammad Aslam Bhootani, an independent MNA from Gwadar (Balochistan).
It is interesting to note that a special committee of the Senate on CPEC has already been functioning and its members have even visited sites of the project in Balochistan. The Senate committee is headed by Sherry Rehman of the PPP.
Sources in the Senate Secretariat told media that members of the upper house were unwilling to become a part of the parliamentary committee formed by the speaker. They said that in a recent meeting of the House Business Advisory Committee presided over by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, senators from the treasury and the opposition had termed the formation of a new parliamentary committee on CPEC unnecessary in the presence of the Senate committee.
The sources said the senators opposed the move fearing that the parliamentary committee was being set up so that the ruling party could get control of the secretariat functioning to facilitate the committee.
They said it had been decided in the meeting that the Senate committee would not be abolished even if the speaker notified the formation of the parliamentary committee as it had happened in the past too.
When contacted, several members of the committee expressed their ignorance about reports that senators were not willing to be the part of the committee.