KP warns of protests if Pak-China corridor route changed

Published April 23, 2015
Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, the chief minister said the federal government did not share details of the agreements and memorandums of understanding signed with China. — INP/file
Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, the chief minister said the federal government did not share details of the agreements and memorandums of understanding signed with China. — INP/file

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has asked the federal government to build the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor in accordance with the original plan of the project and has warned that if it is not done the provincial government will protest and raise the issue at every forum.

“We will launch a legal as well as political battle if the federal government changed the original route of the PCEC.”

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, the chief minister said the federal government did not share details of the agreements and memorandums of understanding signed with China.

He said he had approached the planning commission and other quarters concerned to get details of the projects related to the economic corridor, but his efforts proved futile.

Read: Economists call for more transparency on corridor projects

Asked whether he would go to the court or the Council of Common Interests or launch a protest movement, Mr Khattak said he would use all options and would take other political parties on board on the issue.

He said the proposed route from Gwadar to Kashgar was to pass though Dera Ismail Khan, but this part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been excluded in the revised plan. Balochistan, he added, had been treated in the same manner.

Also read: Security fears for China-Pakistan corridor as Xi ends visit

The chief minister said the federal government had set up a working group for the projects related to the PCEC, but the KP government had no representation in it.

“The KP government has neither representation in the working group nor has it ever been consulted in the whole process.”

He said eight towns and industrial zones would be constructed along the revised route, but none of them would be in his province. “KP is being kept underdeveloped and only one province [Punjab] will get benefits from the deals signed with China.”

He asked the federal government to take smaller provinces on board on all agreements.

Expressing serious reservations over the presence everywhere of the prime minister’s brother and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif during the visit of the Chinese president, he said most of the agreements and MoUs were about Punjab.

Mr Khattak said projects worth $11 billion would be set up in Punjab and KP would get only $ 2.7bn projects, while it deserved three times more.

He said he believed there was no transparency in the deals signed with China. There was an impression, he said, that the deals were struck between two governments and the Bank of China would release direct loans for the projects. This would raise questions about transparency, he added.

The chief minister said hydel power was the cheapest source of energy throughout the world, but the agreements signed with China were for highly expensive coal, wind and solar power generation.

He said KP had huge potential for hydel power generation, but the federal government preferred coal, wind or solar energy. Electricity generation from coal would also create environmental pollution, he added.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2015

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