Asim Saleem Bajwa steps down from his post

The Nation  |  Aug 04, 2021

Asim Saleem Bajwa, the head of the authority overseeing the over $60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), stepped down on Tuesday.

He was appointed as the chairman of CPEC Authority in November 2019, soon after retiring as a three-star general from Pakistan Army.

“I bow my head before Allah Almighty for giving me an opportunity to raise and steer the important institution of CPEC Authority as one window for all CPEC projects, charting the future direction," Bajwa said in a series of tweets.

He added that his work "wouldn’t have been possible without [the] full confidence and support" of Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government.

Bajwa termed CPEC a lifeline for Pakistan, which would transform Pakistan into a “progressive and fully developed country."

The former head of Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistan military's media wing, also expressed best wishes for Khalid Mansoor, his successor, saying he is "fully equipped" to take CPEC forward.

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Asad Umar, the federal minister for planning and development, said Mansoor has been appointed as a special assistant to the prime minister on CPEC Affairs.

“I Welcome Khalid Mansoor to the team as SAPM (special assistant to prime minister) for CPEC affairs. His vast corporate experience , with extensive work with Chinese companies and his direct involvement in leading some of the biggest CPEC projects makes him an ideal person to lead the next phase of CPEC, “ he tweeted.

Signed in 2015, the corridor, which is part of Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, aims to connect China's strategically important northwestern Xinjiang province to the Gwadar port in southern Pakistan through a network of roads, railways, and pipelines to transport cargo, oil and gas.

Bajwa’s resignation comes weeks after a terrorist attack in northern Pakistan that killed nine Chinese workers.

Last year, the former army general offered to quit after allegations of his family's unexplained offshore wealth. The prime minister, however, asked him to continue.

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