Gwadar port contract is ‘confidential’, Pakistani federal secretary informs Senate panel

Pakistan’s Senate standing committee on finance led by Senator Farooq Hamid Naek on Thursday was left shocked when a federal secretary declared that the contract governing affairs of the Gwadar port was “confidential” and its particulars couldn’t be disclosed publicly.
The Senate panel on Wednesday had requested federal Secretary of Maritime Affairs Rizwan Ahmed to share copies of contracts and associated paperwork on award of contracts and sub-contracts concerning Gwadar free zone.
In response, Ahmed said that the paperwork couldn’t be shared with the Senate committee chairman and skim out one paragraph from the settlement which says the contents of the settlement might be stored confidential.
Senators Dr Musadik Malik, Ayesha Raza, Talha Mehmood and Ateeq Shaikh expressed their anger and displeasure when the secretary mentioned that copies of the contracts couldn’t be shared even with legislatures.
To pacify the senators, the committee chairman steered having an in-camera assembly through which copies of the paperwork could be shared for one hour after which recollected.
Senator Ateeq informed the secretary that he couldn’t dictate to a senator. Rizwan Ahmed replied that he was informing the chairman of the committee.
The secretary then agreed that he would share copies of the contracts with the committee members on Tuesday.
“The copy might be shared at 10am earlier than the beginning of an in-camera assembly at 11am,” the secretary mentioned, including that the copies could be recollected quickly after the assembly.
On the web site of the ministry of maritime affairs, Rizwan Ahmed has talked about in his profile certainly one of his main achievement because the federal secretary as being ‘the primary facilitator in resolving the matter of granting tax exemption to the China Abroad Ports Holding Firm to facilitate the institution of its industrial items at Gwadar Port, a problem pending since seven years previous to his appointment”.
The federal government had signed a contract over Gwadar port with a Singaporean firm in 2006, which was later given to the Chinese language firm in 2013. The necessity for the sharing of copies of the contracts was felt when contradictory statements got here from the maritime ministry.
“We simply need to evaluate these contracts to verify whether or not these exemptions might be allowed for 40 years,” Senator Naek mentioned.
The committee members additionally confirmed displeasure over the checklist of contractors and sub-contractors. Rizwan Ahmed responded by saying that the federal government had no position within the award of the contracts to contractors and sub-contractor.
“I’ve requested the related authorities to supply me the checklist of the contracts,” he mentioned, including that after receiving the paperwork he would share them with the committee.