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PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Tuesday gave the prime minister and planning, development and reforms division a fortnight to respond to a petition of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar seeking the court’s multiple directions for the federal government to develop the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project along with several other development projects in the province.

Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Ikramullah Khan fixed Feb 8 for the next hearing into the petition directing deputy attorney general Kifayatullah to ensure the production of replies by the two respondents, prime minister through his principal secretary and planning development and reforms division through planning secretary.

They also directed the petitioner’s lawyer, Qazi Mohammad Anwar, to argue about the petition’s maintainability during the next hearing.

Speaker Asad Qaisar claims he is the custodian of the assembly, which represents the collective will of the people of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and is therefore duty bound to follow resolutions unanimously passed by the assembly regarding China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s western route and all other development components.

The respondents in the petition are the federation of Pakistan through principal secretary to president; prime minister through his principal secretary; planning development and reforms division through its secretary; federal communication secretary; National Highway Authority chairman, Pakistan Railways through its secretary, and federal finance secretary.

The bench observed the two respondents should file replies to explain their position on the matter.

The petitioner prayed the court to order the respondents to honour the commitments of the prime minister made on May 28, 2015, in the APC meeting on CPEC and allocate funds and commence the development projects on the CPEC western route.

He requested the court to direct the respondents to make an unqualified commitment that the western route receive the same quantum of funds which are being spent on the eastern route and that the share and development of the western route shall in no way be allowed to be usurped by the eastern route.

The petitioner also sought orders for respondents to provide funds for establishment of eight industrial parks under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Battagram, Mansehra, Captain Karnal Sher Khan Interchange on Motorway M 1, Malakand, Chakdara Interchange, Swat, Bannu (on Indus Highway) and DI Khan.

He requested the court to issue directions for the completion of the feasibility and start of work on the circular railway line from Peshawar to Nowshera, Mardan, Charsadda and back to Peshawar; western railway track from DI Khan to Peshawar; motorway from DI Khan to Peshawar, and Motorway from Karak to Taxila via Kohat and Jhand.

The petitioner also requested the court to issue directions to include the alternate highway route from Bisham-Khwazakhela-Buner-Mardan-Nowshera-Peshawar; and another alternate route to Karakoram Highway (KKH) from Gilgit-Chitral, Chakdara-Peshawar-Kohat-DI Khan-Zhob-Quetta-Gwadar and also provide additional highway on KKH from Bisham to Khwazakhela-Chakdara-Peshawar-Kohat-DI Khan-Zhob-Quetta-Gwadar.

He said when maps were issued and budget allocations were made for the year 2015-2016, it was found that the western route was not included, and it appeared that on the western route, the same old National Highways will be used with repair and patches and therefore, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Oct 6, 2015, unanimously passed joint resolutions seeking implementation of the commitment of the prime minster on CPEC western route.

Later, another resolution was passed by the assembly on the same issue as the centre didn’t respond to the earlier one.

Published in Dawn January 11th, 2017


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