Businessman Khalid Mansoor appointed Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and tapped to replace the outgoing official
Lt. Gen. (retd.) Asim Saleem Bajwa on Tuesday announced he was resigning as the chairman of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority, with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government announcing that businessman Khalid Mansoor would replace him.
The CPEC Authority is a corporate body with the power to enter into contracts within its budgetary allocation and is tasked with planning, facilitating, coordinating, enforcing, monitoring and evaluating the “smooth implementation” of CPEC projects. Bajwa was appointed the inaugural head of the body in November 2019, despite criticism from the opposition.
“I bow my head before Allah Almighty for giving me and opportunity to raise and steer the important institution of CPEC Authority as one-window for all CPEC projects, charting the future direction,” he said in a posting on Twitter announcing his resignation. “Wouldn’t have been possible without the full confidence and support of the P.M. [Imran Khan] and his government. The course is set for future progression of CPEC, this journey will go on,” he said. “My best wishes to Khalid Mansoor, who is fully equipped to take it forward. CPEC is a lifeline for Pakistan, it will transform us into a progressive and fully developed country,” he added.
A notification issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday evening announced that Mansoor had been appointed as Special Assistant to the P.M. on CPEC Affairs with immediate effect. The appointment, it added, would be in an honorary capacity.
“I welcome Khalid Mansoor to the team as SAPM for CPEC Affairs,” said Planning Minister Asad Umar in a posting on Twitter. “His vast corporate experience, with extensive work with Chinese companies, and his direct involvement in leading some of the biggest CPEC projects makes him and ideal person to lead the next phase of CPEC,” he added.
He also thanked Bajwa for his service as CPEC Authority chairman, noting he had played a vital role in broadening the scope of Pakistan’s role in China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative. “His dedication and commitment was a source of great strength and support,” he added.
In addition to his role as CPEC Authority chairman, Bajwa also served as Special Assistant to the P.M. on Information and Broadcasting—from April to October 2020. Prior to his retirement from the armed forces, he served as Commander Southern Command, and was director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations from 2012 to 2016.
Bajwa’s replacement Mansoor holds a degree in chemical engineering and formerly served as the chief executive of the Hub Power Company Limited. He is currently the chairman of Laraib Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Hubco. He is also currently on the board of the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company.