QUETTA: The political stakeholders in Balochistan on Saturday vowed to resist an alleged change in the proposed route of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Opposition and ruling coalition has urged to restore the "old route" of CPEC to ensure that the benefits of mega projects are equally transferred to smaller provinces.
A political leader at a multi-party conference organised by Awami National Party (ANP) in Quetta demanded inclusion of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan in the CPEC route to eradicate extremism and terrorism.
While addressing the all parties conference (APC), ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan said it was the federal government which was responsible for letting the controversies grow regarding the CPEC and not the political parties.
The APC welcomed the Chinese president's visit and the promised Chinese investment in Pakistan and termed it a positive stride towards strengthening economic conditions of the country.
The political leaders at the APC also urged for addressing the insecurities raised by smaller provinces in the wake of this project.
"Rulers want all roads [CPEC] to pass through takht-e-Lahore," said Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah.
The multi-party conference opposed what it claimed clandestine efforts to turn Gwadar's majority population into minority and demanded the federal government to honour the Balochistan Assembly's resolution on Feb 28 in this regard.
"We have no objection over the investment by China, but Islamabad is creating problems," the ANP chief added.
The speakers lashed out at the federal government for ignoring smaller provinces and creating differences between the Centre and other provinces.
"People of Gwadar and Balochistan have been ignored by rulers in all agreements," Senator Jehanzaib Jamaldini, central leader of Balochistan National Party (BNP), said.
The speakers observed that smaller provinces in general and Balochistan in particular was ignored in terms of development projects initiated by the federal government. "We want justice and rights," Senator Jamaldini added.
The speakers stated that any development without taking on board the indigenous people of Gwadar would widen the gulf between the government and masses.
"People of Balochistan must be taken into confidence regarding all developmental work," Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) told the APC.
He asserted rulers had already made their decision and that they were not ready to listen to the political forces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Besides opposition parties, leaders of ruling coalition partners in Balochistan government including National Party, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party also endorsed the demands put forward at the APC.
Similarly, leaders of PTI also spoke against the Centre and demanded inclusion of parts of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the CPEC.
Leaders of Hazara Democratic Party, Jamaat-i-Islami and JUI (Ideological) among others also supported the demands presented at the APC.