Amid the growing controversy over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Cabinet Committee on CPEC has directed the concerned ministries to immediately get vacated 116 acres of prime Gwadar land, which was under the possession of law enforcement agencies.
According to the official documents cited by The Express Tribune, the delay in getting the land vacated has slowed down work on two projects that were very critical for the full functioning of Gwadar Port and hampering work on infrastructure projects.
A report by Pakist daily stated that under the Gwadar Port agreement signed between Beijing and Islamabad, the land had been leased out to Chinese compes. The CPEC committee said that the country's Ministry of Defence should issue directives to Pakistan Navy, and Pakistan Coast Guards (PCG).
Amid the growing land dispute on CPEC, the cabinet committee was told that PCG was "flouting" instructions of the Prime Minister's Office and was not vacating the land.
"Illegal construction is taking place on 25 acres of the Gwadar Free Zone occupied by Pakistan Coast Guards without permission of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs." "The 25 acres of land has been leased to Chinese concession holders for the Gwadar Free Zone, port operations and the Eastbay Expressway project," The Express Tribune reported.
This report comes a week after the Senate Special Committee on CPEC projects had said that Beijing has not funded any infrastructure project under the CPEC initiative.
Senator Sikandar Mandhro, chief of transport planning at the Pakistan Planning Ministry, had said because of the absence of the CPEC funding, some projects, including the Khuzdar-Basima project, were being carried out from the federal development funds, The Express Tribune reported.
In 2015, China announced an economic project in Pakistan worth USD 46 billion. With the CPEC, Beijing aims to expand its influence in Pakistan and across Central and South Asia in order to counter the influence of the United States and India.
The CPEC would link Pakistan's southern Gwadar port (626 kilometers, 389 miles west of Karachi) in Balochistan on the Arabian Sea to China's western Xinjiang region. It also includes plans to create road, rail and oil pipeline links to improve connectivity between China and the Middle East.
( With inputs from ANI )
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