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Reports saying immunity given to CPEC Authority chairman ‘misleading’: planning ministry

A view of the Gwadar shipping port in Balochistan that forms part of the CPEC project .— AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday said it is misleading to say that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority chairman has been given ‘immunity’ from National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigations.

“It has been reported […] that the new CPEC Authority Bill, 2020, will give immunity to chairman [of the] CPEC Authority and other officers from investigations [by] NAB and [the] Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Such news reports are misleading,” the Ministry of Planning said in a press release.

It explained that the reports “probably referred to the indemnity clause” (Section 23) of the bill, which it described as “a standard clause in many similar laws which indemnify authorities for actions done in good faith”.

It highlighted that similar indemnity clauses are provided for in Public Procurement Regularity Authority (PPRA) Ordinance 2002 (Section 23), Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) Ordinance 2002 (Section 39), Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) Act 2010 (Section 21), Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) Act 2010 (Section 48) and Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) Act 2017 (Section 26) and similar other laws.

The planning ministry further said that the clause in question was also a part of the CPEC Authority Ordinance promulgated in Oct 2019 and was not a new insertion.

“It is in consonance with other similar laws,” it insisted.

“The speculation regarding this clause is therefore misplaced and unfounded,” the statement said.

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