PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Saturday warned his government won’t allow the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to pass through the province if the centre denied the due share in its route to the latter.
Addressing the ‘Corridor Convention’ arranged by Pakhtunkhwa Ulasi Tehreek (PUT) here, the chief minister said if KP didn’t benefit from the CPEC, then the federal government should divert its route away.
“If KP doesn’t gain from the (CPEC) project, then nobody will be able to get anything from the whole project,” he said.
Mr Khattak lambasted Punjab for ‘trampling on the rights of smaller provinces’ and said everything was being manipulated to benefit the country’s largest province.
He said the federal government was denying KP the due rights whether it was oil, gas, water or net hydel profit issue and thus, forcing the provincial government to go for agitation.
CM regrets not a single brick laid on Haripur-DI Khan section of corridor
“They (centre) declare all those raising voice for the rights of the province traitors,” he said.
The chief minister said Punjab needed to change its attitude towards smaller provinces and that all political forces of the province were united on the CPEC issue.
He said the CPEC was not just a road and instead, it was a combination of many projects, including electricity, gas, LNG, fiber optics and industrial zones.
Mr Khattak said on May 28, the federal government had agreed to go for the western route of corridor as a first priority.
“Work on many of the road projects, which are part of the CPEC project, has begun but ironically, not a single brick has been laid on the Haripur-Dera Ismail Khan section falling in the limits of KP,” he said.
The chief minister said all political leaders should join hands and raise voice for the rights of the province otherwise they would get nothing from the whole project.
He said the western route of the CPEC was 500-600 kilometers shorter than the eastern one and that the area falling under its western leg was also backward and needed to be completed as the first priority.
Mr Khattak said in December last, he had written a letter to the federal government on several contentious issues and demanded copies of agreement signed with the Chinese, but the response was still awaited forcing the provincial government to raise the matter in public.
“We’re not being taken into confidence on this issue. We’ll take this issue to the Council of Common Interest, the provincial and national assemblies, and other available forums.
The chief minister said his government would stand for the rights of the province and that all political leaders and people should support it.
KP Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar, who was also in attendance, said parliamentarians would fulfil their responsibilities on the CPEC issue and that PTI chief Imran Khan had directed the provincial government to take up the issue with the federal government without delay.
He said KP’s industry, cities and social fabric was destroyed by the war on terrorism and therefore, they should be rehabilitated and the CPEC could play a crucial role for it.
KP senior minister and Qaumi Watan Party provincial president Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao told participants that the CPEC project couldn’t be completed without the participation of KP.
He said if political forces of the province didn’t join hands for rights, then the history won’t forgive them.
Mr Sikandar said Pakistan was not being run like a federation and that the development of all federating units was vital for the country’s progress.
“Pakistan does not look like a federation today as one province (Punjab) is dominating others,” he said.
Awami National Party provincial general secretary Sardar Hussain Babak said the CPEC was the game-changer for the province’s future and that it was an issue of life and death for the people of the province.
“We’ll not allow anyone to usurp the rights of the province in this crucial project,” he said.
Awami Workers Party leader Fanoos Gujjar, Jamaat Islami lawmaker Syed Gul and former KP Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Zahid Shinwari also spoke on the occasion.
PUT convener Dr Said Alam Mehsud briefed participants about the project, especially the federal government’s ‘somersaults’ on it.
He said the PUT would organise conventions of traders, industrialists, lawyers, writers and students to apprise them of the actual situation on the issue.
Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2016