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ISLAMABAD: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project was the subject of much debate and criticism on Monday at a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Communication.

So much so that at one point Senator Daud Khan Achakzai termed it a “a highway project between China and Punjab”, while others expressed dissatisfaction and anger over what they termed the unfair prioritisation of development of the eastern route of the CPEC.

“It is, in fact, the China-Punjab Economic Corridor, because it will mainly benefit Punjab and not the other provinces,” said Mr Achakzai, who is also the chairman of the committee.

Take a look: Senate committee slams NHA for slow progress on CPEC

Shahid Ashraf Tarar, who is currently officiating as both the communications secretary and chairman of the National Highway Authority (NHA), was present in the meeting but failed to allay members’ fears and concerns.

Standing committee dissatisfied with NHA chief’s explanation for prioritisation of CPEC’s western route

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is frequently inaugurating CPEC-related projects on the eastern route, such as industrial zones in Sialkot and Lodhran, but the western route only gets promises,” the chairman said.

He said: “It seems that work on the western route will not start even in 2025 and the expeditious nature of work on the eastern route indicates that the project is meant only for Punjab. This impression is not giving a positive message, rather it is increasing resentment among the federating units.”

If the sense of deprivation is not removed now the responsibility of any misfortune will lie squarely on the prime minister’s shoulders.

The committee supported the Sukkur-Multan Motorway, but stressed the need for taking up development and construction work on the western route. “There has been no progress on the Quetta-Chaman Road, Zhob-Mughal Kot Road and the Kachlak bypass,” he said.

Another member of the committee, Senator Usman Khan Kakar, said that ignoring the western route was not a good omen. “Unfortunately, 20 per cent of the country is preferred over the rest of the 80 per cent of the country,” he said.

Mr Tarar tried to satisfy the members of the committee by saying that an additional amount of Rs20 billion had been allocated for Balochistan. “Bids have been invited through newspapers for initiating work on western route,” he said.

The communications secretary said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would soon inaugurate two main highways: the N-50 (Kuchlak-Zhob-DI Khan) and N-70 (Multan-DG Khan-Loralai-Killa Saifullah).

“However, the secretary failed to satisfy the members of the committee,” said an official handout issued by the Senate Secretariat.

At the last meeting of the committee, the secretary had confessed that no funds had been allocated for the western route of the corridor so far.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2015

Comments (61) Closed

beginning of end Nov 24, 2015 07:01am

Unless it touches Sindh CPEC will not be successful period

Saad Nov 24, 2015 07:02am

There you go.

Zahid Nov 24, 2015 07:07am

PML-N is a Punjab only party....If they could, they would spend all CPEC budget in Lahore...And I am from Lahore.......

PML-N short term and showcase goals...

PTI appears to be doing things that are long, trees, nutrition, policing, Right to Information, etc...

Jawad Pakistani Nov 24, 2015 07:08am

Sadly he's right it's always punjab. All other provinces are poor and backward due to federal government always concentration on punjab

aziz Nov 24, 2015 07:17am

if cpec could not change the fate of the poeple of Gwadar what else can the people of balochistan would expect from it....

khan Nov 24, 2015 07:26am

the best solution to the unjustice to other provinces in pakistan is to give equl national assembly seats to every province.

Cyrus Nov 24, 2015 07:27am

Do the Chinese have a say in this?

Iqbal Hussain Nov 24, 2015 07:30am


Khan Nov 24, 2015 07:31am

Obviously PMLN would want to work where they get their votes from, which is mainly Punjab only. They don't need votes from other provinces as long Punjab vote them. Well that's what I think.

Cyrus Nov 24, 2015 07:33am

@beginning of end .... .... The main road will avoid Karachi because the city is too congested with traffic. The new port will probably handle the transport of minerals to China.

natey Nov 24, 2015 07:36am

it is just a road..what kind of benefit it will bring to provinces?

Kpk Nov 24, 2015 07:40am

So many water reservoirs and dams in kpk yet we get 16hrs of load shedding how come CPEC will change balochistan. Such acts of the politicians divide people. If you don't give the provinces their due rights such objections and impediments will come to stop the fast pace of big projects. Keep it clean please. People have access to information nowadays you can't hide you lies.

Raja Nov 24, 2015 07:42am

Because China trusts pmln. PPP has always been known as corrupt party. PTI is yet to make its name as a reliable political force.

Simple view Nov 24, 2015 08:00am

Whole of Pakistan will benefit from CPEC.The ports of Karachi,Bin Qasim,and Gwador are solid proofs that roads will connect these major ports of Sindh & Baluchistan.The Senators please shut your mouth,people now fully aware that people like you raised hue and cry at the time of decision to built Kalabagh Dam in past,which resulted now in acute water shortage in Pakistan.Had Kalabagh Dam built,today the Pakistan could have been more strong and stable in all aspects.

kashmiri Nov 24, 2015 08:03am

well said

Z Nov 24, 2015 08:12am

There is one thing called economic viability that sets priorities. Someone please tell this to those politicians who have done nothing for 'their people' any way. And what is wrong with benefiting 'first' to higher density areas? where some structure is also in place that just needs to be upgraded instead of compete build from scratch? And return on investment will also start immediately? as 60-80 populations is living in those areas? Just because Punjab is the major part of those areas, it becomes bad priority? And do not they know how many Pashtoons are living in Punjab? and in Karachi? and probably more than Baluchistan's baluch population balochis are living in Punjab. Just like Karachi is the biggest pashtoon city of the country as an ex-mayor of Karachi (naymat something) said it once so correctly. These self interested and negative minded people are the problem. Not the common populace of our provinces.

Dilectus Nov 24, 2015 08:15am

PML-N a regional party of punjab will only think about punjab. That is obvious.

ysk Nov 24, 2015 08:23am

So they think China doesnt want to reach Gawadar either?? Stop political point scoring and let the project go ahead. You can doubt Sharif intentions but China is clearly driving this and they wont stop at Punjab.

hah Nov 24, 2015 08:48am

Let Punjab develop first,only it has the financial muscle to pay 18% interest rates.Let punjab develop rest will follow.

Shaukat Ali Khan Nov 24, 2015 08:48am

I thought CPEC originated from Gwadar and ran through Baluchistan before entering any other province? These parties has done nothing worthwhile for development and are trying to disrupt CPEC for vested interests including political point scoring.

Nasir Nov 24, 2015 08:58am

As usual always been the case

IN Nov 24, 2015 09:01am

@natey you have no idea what benefits new roads and pipelines bring....plenty of opportunity and prosperty

Shahid Nov 24, 2015 09:18am

Punjab gets wrongly accused, in fact with Sharifs it is only Lahore and nothing else

raghu Nov 24, 2015 09:22am

though it will bring some small benefits but this project will destroy the pakistani economy in no time with chines imports.


Mohammad Nov 24, 2015 09:50am

Punjab, punjab, punjab, punjab

majid Nov 24, 2015 09:56am

Formula is simple bring peace in those areas first.

Faisal Nov 24, 2015 10:15am

Punjab is also in Pakistan, doesn't matter from where CPEC pass through, at the end of the day it is going to benefit Pakistan. So stay calm and let the PMLN do their work.

imran Nov 24, 2015 10:21am

i cannot help agreeing with senator.

Khwarezmi Nov 24, 2015 10:24am

CPEC start in Gwadar and ends in GB so how can it be a Punjab-China corridor?

Politicians are playing the same game as their did with Kalabagh Dam: scoring cheap political points on vital national projects after failing to deliver/ to perform in government, local and national.

mustafa Nov 24, 2015 10:36am

The bitter truth is that the most suitable place for business is Punjab. What other provincial govts have done to gain the trust of business community. How many workshops, factories and mega-projects are established in there? ZERO. Other provinces are doing nothing and their easy escape goat is to blame Punjab.

rich Nov 24, 2015 10:37am

one pm who tries to get some work done and everyone is crticising him

Saeed Masood Nov 24, 2015 10:37am

The problem is not in Punjab..the problem is in Sindh..Shahbaz Sharif cannot go to Sindh and do their job..Please find a better man in Sindh...CPEC is for Pakistan and will better Pakistan...Long live China Pakistan friendship..

Pakistani Nov 24, 2015 10:55am

Start from somewhere please stop politics on such issues

Bareerah Fatima Nov 24, 2015 11:06am

More precisely it is China-Lahore Corridor , as for Punjab government, Punjab only comprises of Lahore and Faisalabad on later stage to get votes and seats in provincial assembly. Now thanks to the opposition, attention is diverted to Lodhran. The latest boundary of CM and PM 's punjab is Lodhran.

imran zaheer Nov 24, 2015 11:34am

CPEC will remain controversial unless n until reservations of all provinces ate not taken care of, it might also get delayed because of the reservations.

raja Nov 24, 2015 11:35am

Pakistan has no saying in this, anybody thinking deferently is not thinking about the main purpose of this corridor. Why would the chinese risk going through the unstable western pakistan? Chinese are only being realistic, they aren't stupid.

AmArif Nov 24, 2015 11:50am

I am from Multan (Punjab) and I fully agree that focus of CPEC should be Balouchistan and other deprived areas rather than Punjab & Lahore. I hope many of us don't want another East Pakistan (Bangladesh) as a result of our wrong policies.

Khurshid Ahmed Nov 24, 2015 11:57am

@Faisal: What do you think Sindh, Baluchistan and KPK are not part of Pakistan?

A Shah Nov 24, 2015 12:09pm

We will still be debating this project in 20 years time. Nothing is going to happen.

Rahin from US Nov 24, 2015 12:14pm

@Faisal , you are right 10000000%. I

Shahkhan Nov 24, 2015 12:14pm

In long run if they dont take all privinces on board surely it will create unrest as well balochistan insurgency may increase and the gawadar cant remain peaceful as surely the ppl of province are not take in board and totally ignored. The eastern route will enter straight to gawadar from sindh ignoring all balochistan, specially the pashtoon belt of balochistan and capital as Quetta is totally bypassed in route as well in all projects. Please save pakistan dont break it for punjab

Einstein Babar Nov 24, 2015 12:17pm

Main benefits of this project should be delivered to baloch areas, they have waited for a long time for prosperity. Lahore can survive even with zero benefits of this project.

Rahin from US Nov 24, 2015 12:25pm

If you eat, your full body will get benefit from it

Rashid Nov 24, 2015 12:28pm

Let resource less Punjab enjoy other provinces resources.

Hasan Malik Nov 24, 2015 01:01pm

@beginning of end Sindh is a part of western route but ANP is against it. Also Karachi-Hyderabad motorway is a part of Western route. ANP is just fanning hatred of Punjab and they want to bypass Punjab at all costs, but Sindh will be bypassed as well if the route will not pass through Punjab.

Tariq Amir Nov 24, 2015 01:06pm

Gwadar is in Balochistan, so how can the corridor benefit only Punjab? Will they stop the roads on Punjab / Balochistan border? The point is that some sections of motorways are already constructed in Punjab and those are being connected with the corridor. Be patient, it will benefit the whole country. Cynicism is our big problem.

Haroon Nov 24, 2015 01:09pm

How someone will explain to these Pukhtoon senators that CPEC is not a name of some road. It is a huge project. Also the main dry port is being established in Hawelian and for the information of these senators Hawelian is in KP. Also every route will connect Gwadar, so how come Gawadar is being neglected.?

Taimoor khan Nov 24, 2015 01:16pm

Democracy in Pakistan is the acheles heal for the state. With political parties only limited to provinces, there is no political entity left which got national level thinking. How long the state can afford such non sense?

Dr. Farooq Khan Nov 24, 2015 01:16pm

What!!! PML-N??

ishrat salim Nov 24, 2015 01:17pm

This project has become controversial because, the presentation made in the APC, Western route was a priority as it was planned, but when in actual execution stage the Govt shifted it focus to Eastern route, why ? Rs 110 billon for this route was released while only Rs 20 billion for Western route ? Is this fair, when Western route will benefit the small provinces, especially Baluchistan. CPEC does not mean on roads but creation of industrial zones, energy projects like Gadani Coal project ( 6000 mw ), for which PM laid the foundation stone recently, but has been postponed, why ? Is Lahore only Pakistan, even most of S Punjab has been ignored in CPEC, why ? PML N govt is creating a sense of discrimination by itself & people seem to support that, is outrageous. Such people need to be big hearted with sense of responsibility as Punjab claims to be a big brother with the largest population.

nabidad Nov 24, 2015 01:29pm

People should stop committing nonsense about project. It is for whole Pakistan. And Nawaz Sharif is not a person to give credit only.

Shabbir Ahmed Nov 24, 2015 01:37pm

Are we not a very unfortunate & stupid nation? The Hon Senators' are grossly wrong. Gawadar is not in Punjab, nor do Sakkar, Rohri, Haripur, Havelian, Abbotabad, Mansehra and Gilgit atc lie in Punjab. Won't the CPEC pass through these places even on its Eastern route? So, whats the fuss about? We all need to rise above parochialism. May God help us!!!

Abdul Karim Nov 24, 2015 01:38pm

Here we go discrimination again. But sadly CPEC disproportionately benefits China.

sm Nov 24, 2015 01:41pm

@natey "just a road"? you have no idea about the correlation between commercial traffic and impact on local economy.

Shaukat Ali Khan Nov 24, 2015 01:45pm


CPEC is a short term project? What a visionary statement, Sir jee.

Ahmad Nov 24, 2015 01:56pm

Lahore, Lahore, Lahore, Lahore

A shah Nov 24, 2015 03:33pm

This is a no starter. Pakistan needs to develop itself instead of selling itself cheap. The day Pakistan honestly agrees to join hands with India is the day it's destiny will change. Hoping and wishing that US or Russia or China will fix all of Pakistans problems is a fools paradise. I hope I see this day in my life time. Two separated brothers once again become one!

Nangyal Nov 24, 2015 08:01pm

@A shah I am a Pakistani and I 100% agree. I wish to see that day too, the world will watch in wonder.

Abbassin Nov 24, 2015 08:39pm

A shah / I am all for better relations and doing business with India-but for the two countries to join is a nonstarter. Anyhow, there is no need for it, we can and should build better relationships and do business for the betterment of our people. The truth though is that India, the bigger brother has to take the initiative, starting with confidence building measures such as coming to the table to discuss all bi-lateral issues, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and their meddling in Karachi and Baluchistan, which does not seem to be the case as evident by their continuous refusal to acknowledge that these are very serious issues for Pakistan and need to be discussed and resolved. Further, their foot dragging and delaying tactics, with regard to the Iran gas pipeline, the TAPI gas pipeline, and now their hue and cry about the CPEC project is not at all helpful to the cause of better relationships.

khanzada wazir Nov 25, 2015 07:05am

They are trying to create rift and distance between federating units by ignoring the actual western route originally agreed by Pak china to have route and integrated communication network with Gawadar Pakstan and central Asia. This is extremely unfair

ZAHID Khan Nov 25, 2015 01:04pm

Every One knows that Punjab is an imperialist towards other provinces. It is using all the tactics to snatch the resources and rights of other provinces. The Only Solution to all problem in the country is to Equal No. of NA Seats should be given to all Provinces.