PESHAWAR: The political fraternity of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has warned the federal government through Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed against any ‘deception’ on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
“I warn if the federal government does not address the reservations of KP about the (CPEC) project, then we will take an extreme step. And you (centre) will see what we are going to do,” Chief Minister Pervez Khattak told a news conference with Mr Mushahid after attending the briefing of the parliamentary party leaders here on Thursday.
“The KP demand is very simple: implement the decisions of the ‘All-Party Conference’ held in Islamabad on May 28 and build complete corridor. We don’t need a highway,” said Mr Khattak flanked by parliamentary leaders in the KP Assembly.
The chief minister said if the federal government wanted to build a highway only, then the province had sufficient resources to do so on its own.
Senator Mushahid declares KP’s reservations on project genuine, wants ‘APC’ joint declaration implemented
Mr Mushahid, who heads a parliamentary committee overseeing the CPEC project, agreed with Mr Khattak, saying the reservations of KP are genuine and the route will be completed in line with the joint declaration of the ‘APC’.
The project containing fiber optic, railway line, gas and oil pipeline, LNG, electricity and several economic zones will connect Gwadar Port to Kashgar in the north-western China.
Parliamentary leaders of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Jamaat-i-Islami, Awami National Party, Qaumi Watan Party and Pakistan People’s Party, Speaker of the provincial assembly Asad Qaisar and ministers attended the briefing.
The chief minister said the provincial assembly had unanimously passed two resolutions demanding of the federal government to build the corridor in accordance with the ‘APC’ decisions.
He said it was decided in the APC meeting that the CPEC western route would be completed in the first phase to be followed by the construction of the eastern route.
“Later, we learnt that the western route has been restricted only to a road, which is unacceptable for us,” he said warning that KP would take an ‘extreme step’ if the centre ignored the ‘APC’ decisions.
He said the project’s additional components including fiber optic, railway track, gas and oil pipeline, LNG and other facilities had been attached with the eastern route of the corridor to be laid between Gwadar and Rawalpindi.
Mr Khattak said there was nothing in the project for KP except the highway.
He said the people of Hazara should also not live in a fool’s paradise as they were not getting much more from the project as the route would be passed through Hazara division.
The CM said the federal government should give priority and incentives to underdeveloped areas like KP and Balochistan in the project instead of shifting all benefits to Punjab, which was already developed.
He complained the centre had also stopped issuing the No Objection Certificate to foreign investors under the pretext of security situation.
Mr Khattak said investors were willing to put their money in KP but the federal government did not issue them NOCs.
“If the centre considers KP to be insecure for investment, then it should not start work on the corridor,” he said.
On the occasion, Mr Mushahid declared the CPEC ‘fortune-changer’ for the country and said the project was a golden opportunity for Pakistan to progress.
He said the vital project did not belong to a single province, political party, government or institution.
The parliamentarian said he came to Peshawar to understand KP’s viewpoint about the project and would discuss it with the centre.
He said federal planning and development minister Ahsan Iqbal would brief parliamentary leaders from KP about the CPEC on Jan 6.
“The grievances of KP are genuine and that the decisions of APC should be implemented in letter and spirit,” he said.
Mr Mushahid said major grievances of Balochistan had been resolved and reservations too would be resolved amicably.
Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2016