QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister (CM) Dr Abdul Malik Baloch on Sunday said he was not taken into confidence by anyone with regards to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Talking to Dawn.com after holding a meeting with Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) central leader Liaquat Baloch, the chief minister said he was not aware of the trade corridor’s route.
Dr Malik Baloch did however say that he was aware that China will be working on three important projects in Balochistan.
Talking on the planned trade corridor and other projects agreed upon during Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan, the Balochistan CM said it was the first time ever a friendly country was making such a massive investment in Pakistan.
“The people of Balochistan must benefit from these projects,” he said, adding that the people of Gwadar must be given preference for jobs and other benefits.
JI leader Liaquat Baloch said following the 18th amendment to the Constitution, the prime minister had to take all provinces into confidence when taking major decisions. He said the amendment empowered provinces to decide about their fate.
“The prime minister should not focus on just one province; he has to focus on all provinces,” the JI leader said.
Liaquat Baloch said parts of Balochistan must be included in the corridor between Gwadar and Kashghar so that the province could come at par with other parts of the country.
Earlier, the two leaders discussed the political situation in the country and in Balochistan, and agreed to make joint efforts to improve the situation.
These comments by the Balochistan CM come just a couple of days after the Awami National Party (ANP) announced convening a multi-party conference on May 16 to discuss the issue of CPEC and its proposed route.
ANP and other Baloch nationalist parties claim that Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been ignored in the 3,000 kilometres long Gwadar-Kashghar route of the CPEC.
ANP leader Mian Iftikhar had claimed the federal government deliberately created a controversy, neglecting the smaller provinces. “We will resist any change in route,” he said.
The government was criticised for having allegedly changed the CPEC’s route to go straight east from Gwadar towards Khuzdar, then slightly northeast to cross the River Indus near Ratodero and connect with the road network in Sindh.
But the government has strenuously denied any route changes were made, arguing that two routes are being pursued, and on the request of the Chinese, the second route was being built first simply because it was cheaper to do so.