May 7, 2018 (BE2C2) — The National Judicial Policy Making Committee headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan and comprising chief justices of the four provincial high courts as well as the Federal Shariat Court has asked the Planning Commission — the country’s focal organization on the $62 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor — to consult the Supreme Court if it requires any support in matters relating to the CPEC.
With growing CPEC investment in Pakistan there was likelihood of civil and criminal disputes and therefore the need for uniformity in laws, processes and mechanisms.
Also, on repeated requests from China, the country’s top judicial policymaking body has asked the country’s high courts and lower judiciary not to issue ex parte stay orders in respect of CPEC-related projects as China seeks special arrangements for expeditious resolution of disputes with its companies and investors in Pakistan, the local daily newspaper Dawn reported citing official record seen by it.
According to the paper, China had been pressing hard at almost every forum for exemption from stay orders and suggesting special arrangements for expeditious resolution of disputes with Chinese state-owned contractors, investors and financiers.
Designating special courts to hear CPEC-related disputes may also be considered.
The decisions were taken at a special meeting of the NJPMC in February. About a dozen federal secretaries or their senior representatives were specially invited to the meeting, the paper reports.
The country’s Supreme Court Justice Saqib Nisar told the meeting that during his visit to China in 2017, the president/chief justice of the Supreme People’s Court of China “showed his concern about dispute resolution mechanisms to deal with likely disputes arising out of CPEC projects and desired that some expeditious dispute resolution mechanism may be framed”.
The matter was taken up with the Chief Justice by two Chinese ambassadors who “reiterated that for resolution of disputes that may arise between individuals and Chinese government a mechanism should be evolved” and reminded “the amicable settlement of CPEC-related disputes”.
One such CPEC-related project included a $2.1 billion high voltage direct current transmission line from Matiari to Lahore spreading over 878 kilometers and in respect of which stay orders had been passed and the issue required consideration.