SWABI: Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan on Tuesday said his party would continue struggle for the restoration of the ‘original’ China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

He was addressing a public meeting in Shewa area of Razaar tehsil here during the launch of the party’s agitation against the ‘changes’ to the multibillion corridor project.

Mr. Asfandyar said the ANP would continue peaceful struggle until the original CPEC project was restored.

He said the campaign against CPEC changes was put off over the Line of Control tensions in the wake of Uri attack.

The ANP chief said the current CPEC project was the China-Punjab Economic Corridor project after changes to the original plan.

“Currently, there is nothing in the corridor project for Pakhtuns of KP, Balochistan and tribal belt,” he said.

Mr. Asfandyar said analysts and officials declared the CPEC project a game changer but the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan leaders insisted the original plan was changed to divert its benefits from their provinces to Punjab.

ANP chief insists corridor plan changed to benefit Punjab

“The original agreed route of the corridor passes through northern parts of Balochistan and southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, some changes have been made to it by the federal government and thus, leaving the two provinces on the receiving end,” he said.

The ANP chief said the party would continue struggle for the reversal of ‘unwanted and unjustified’ changes to the project.

He said the ANP was not opposed to the project as it would economically benefit both Pakistan and China but the changes made to it by the PML-N-led federal government to benefit Punjab had caused serious reservations about it.

Mr. Asfandyar said his party would resist denial of due share in the project to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

He insisted the corridor agreement was originally finalised during in 2012 with the then PPP government promising the grant of due share in it to all provinces.

The ANP leader said the PML-N government had failed to follow the unanimous decisions made during the multi-party conference on the CPEC project.

“First of all, work on the CPEC’s western route should begin in line with the original master plan of the project,” he said.

He also insisted the government had abandoned the original CPEC plan to build industrial parks and economic processing zones along the corridor’s western route.

ANP provincial president Ameer Haider Hoti told participants that the federal government was to blame for the controversy surrounding the proposed corridor.

“The change in the project’s western route is not acceptable to the ANP. We will protect the rights of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the project,” he said. Mr. Hoti said some ‘unwanted’ changes were made to the corridor project.

Published in Dawn October 5th, 2016


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