PESHAWAR: Strongly reacting to imposition of Section-4 of the Land Acquisition Act for acquiring land for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, nationalists and religious groups have announced they will launch a protest movement to force the federal government to withdraw its decision of purchasing land for the mega project.
This was announced during a joint news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday.
Noted among the speakers were Pakhtunkhwa Olasi Tehreek chairman Dr Said Alam Mehsud, ANP-Wali provincial president Fareed Toofan, Awami Workers Party leader Fanoos Gujar and Tehreek Soba Hazara chief Baba Haider Zaman.
They said they would announce the schedule of rallies and public meetings soon to mobilise the people to pressure the government to grant KP and Fata due rights in the project.
Say people will be mobilised for KP, Fata rights in project
They also announced the formation of a ‘supreme council’ to supervise the protest movement against the acquisition of land for CPEC between Thakot and Havelian and also in Dera Ismail Khan, where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently inaugurated the project’s groundbreaking.
Dr Said Alam Mehsud complained the federal government was in no way ready to accept Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s demand for grant of rights.
He said the protest movement did not mean to raise voice only for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or Balochistan but also for Gilgit-Baltistan, Hazara, Fata and other disadvantaged areas.
Dr Said Alam said the already neglected and underdeveloped areas were deliberately deprived of the CPEC project’s benefits.
“The federal government, especially federal minister for planning and development Ahsan Iqbal, deceived the participants of multi-party conferences on different occasions by concealing truth about the changes to the original CPEC project.
“The nation will learn about double standard of the federal government if the minutes of all five meetings of the joint coordination committee are made public,” he said.
The Pakhtunkhwa Olashi Tehreek chief said the Planning Commission of Pakistan was incompetent to deal with the mega plans like the CPEC as it had no experience to launch heavy projects and suggested constitution of ‘corridor authority’ to have representation from all provinces, Fata and Gilgit-Baltistan.
He stressed the need for conducting environmental study for the project in Gilgit-Baltistan and Hazara wherein the greenery will be adversely affected due to the CPEC project because 5,000 vehicles will use the route daily.
He said regular supply of natural gas and smooth supply of electricity to the forest cover areas was also a must to ensure protection to forests.
Tehreek Soba Hazara chief Baba Haider Zaman said his organisation was determined to fight for their rights of neglected people, whether they belonged to Hazara division or other areas.
He also appealed to the people to take to the streets for their due rights.
Awami Workers Party chief Fanoos Gujjar urged the people to take a unified stand, come onto the roads for due rights.
He said the people should take the matter seriously to ensure bright future of coming generations.
ANP-Wali leader Farid Taufan said the alliance was meant to ‘snatch’ the province’s rights in the CPEC project from the federal government.
He said the federal government wanted to provide developmental schemes to Punjab only.
Zubair Anjam of the JUI-Nazriyati said his party would never accept ‘Punjabistan’ and join hands with other parties against the federal government over denial of KP’s share in the CPEC project.
Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2016