ISLAMABAD: The Pakis­tan Space and Upper Atmos­phere Research Commission (Suparco) will provide comprehensive satellite service to monitor the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and address its security concerns.

This was said by a Suparco delegation during a meeting with President Mamnoon Hussain at the presidency here on Tuesday.

According to a spokesman for the president, Suparco chairman Maj Gen Qaiser Anees Khurram briefed Mr Hussain on the commission’s ongoing satellite development projects and its role and contribution in completion of CPEC projects.

The president appreciated the technology-based support the commission is providing to the CPEC in major areas.

The meeting was informed that Suparco was providing complete geo sensing of the entire corridor from Gwadar to Khunjerab (Pak-China border).

The president expressed satisfaction that all related institutions were contributing to completion of projects under the CPEC and said the role of Suparco in this regard was of great significance.

He also praised the role of Suparco in the country’s economic progress and development and said the commission needed to brief government departments on its capabilities for optimum utilisation of its expertise in agriculture, water resources, healthcare, education, disaster management and environment monitoring. Suparco should also promote awareness among the public about usefulness of space technology.

The president said the CPEC would pave the way for economic development not only of Pakistan but also of the whole region, adding that immense employment opportunities and other avenues for economic progress would be created.

A source in the presidency said that Suparco’s satellite service would help secure those CPEC areas which were vulnerable to terrorist attacks and criminal activities. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Hussain would have access to the satellite service and would be able to monitor CPEC projects on their computers. The service would also help curb encroachments and land grabbing along the corridor, the source added.

The Senate’s Standing Committee on Planning and Development was on Monday informed that people had started encroaching land along the CPEC and settling there and it would be difficult for the authorities to remove them.

The satellite service will help monitor the pace of infrastructural development like construction of roads and establishment of power generation units and economic zones along the corridor.

A Special Security Division (SSD) comprising over 4,500 security personnel is being established to ensure security of CPEC-related projects and Chinese nationals. The terms of reference for the division are being prepared, which will be discussed with the provinces.

The planning and development ministry has allocated one per cent of the total cost of CPEC projects for funding the SSD.

Published in Dawn October 19th, 2016