“What are the clauses, terms and conditions of agreements with the Chinese? Suppose I default anywhere, which court would I be dragged into? And not just me, the investors, too, need to know how to secure their investment and which court would be resolving their disputes,” said retired Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, director general of the Sindh Judicial Academy, at a seminar on ‘The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Related Laws, Their Importance and Enforcement’ organised by Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto University of Law (Szabul) at a hotel here.
He further asked if the local labour, which may not be very skillful, will enjoy the same rights and protection as foreign labour. “We need to amend our labour laws to protect the rights of our labour,” he said. “Have we also looked at environment protection?” he further said. “I am a citizen of my country where I pay taxes. I reserve the right to know about all these things. Why keep them a secret from me?”
Earlier, Szabul Vice Chancellor Qazi Khalid Ali had said that when two countries enter an agreement of such a high magnitude such as CPEC, there is a need for applicable and acceptable comprehensive laws for both nations.
Focussing further on the law aspects of CPEC, Dr Mohammad Raheem Awan, secretary, Law Justice Commission of Pakistan, said the ignorance of law as far as CPEC is concerned will not be excused. “Foreign investors are drawn to Pakistan because of our location. Pakistan serves as the shortest route to get to Iran, Afghanistan, India, China and the Middle East for trade,” he said while counting the other reasons which attracts investors to this country. “There are our natural resources with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan having huge mining potentials, our cheap labour, agriculture and great market, too,” he said.
“So these foreign investors are not coming here just because they are friends with Pakistan and love us very much.”
Giving his insight, Advocate Anwar Mansoor Khan said that there were many discrepancies in the present logistics agreements between Pakistan and China, which would raise diverse policy issues and conflicts of law.
“You need coordination and cooperation between institutions here. The treaties do not seem equipped to handle the traffic of CPEC. They are not in line with international trade laws...