CM defends petition for CPEC’s western route

Updated April 30, 2017


PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said on Saturday that a petition that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had submitted to the Peshawar High Court seeking early development of the western route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would continue to hang like a sword over the federal government.

Talking to reporters following a seminar on ‘CPEC – Economic and Employment Opportunities’ arranged by the KP Economic Zones Management and Development Company (EZMDC), Mr Khattak said that Mr Qaiser and others had approached the court seeking that the CPEC western route in KP should be developed on a par with the eastern route.

He said that the speaker was not satisfied with the development on the western route and that was why he moved the court.

Answering a question if the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was going to withdraw the case, he said that it should continue hanging like a sword over the head of rulers at centre, so they could not cheat.

The chief minister explained that almost all of the MoUs the KP government had recently signed at the investment road show in Beijing were investment based and not loan based.

He said that over 80 per cent of the MoUs were related to projects that would be executed under the build, operate and transfer (BOT) model. He said that the provincial government was keen to take MoUs signed in Beijing to the agreement level within next few weeks.

Mr Khattak said that the provincial government would sign four MoUs with the Frontier Works Organisation on May 10 for setting up a cement plant, an oil refinery, a 600 megawatts hydropower project and two mega cities on the outskirts of Peshawar. He said that the hard work of the PTI-led government was paying dividends now as a large number of investors were coming to the KP, which would boost its economy.

The EZDMC CEO, Mohsin Syed, said that major projects signed during the road show also included Central KP Economic Zone Rail Cargo System and Southern KP Rail Cargo System that would be developed by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and China Railway First Group (CRFG), respectively.

The Central KP Economic Zone Rail Cargo System project is first of its kind that will link major economic zones along the CPEC route providing cargo and transportation services for the industries. Southern KP Rail Cargo System would focus on the long-neglected southern region of the province providing the infrastructure and transportation network for a well-developed industrial hub.

Mr Syed said that an MoU to develop Kohat Special Economic Zone was inked with CRFG to develop the economic structure of the southern region, provide employment opportunities to the local population and develop existing manufacturing clusters and to accelerate the growth of southern KP using Kohat as a gateway.

He said that anticipating the huge demand for Pakistani labour force by the Chinese corporation establishing subsidiaries and joint ventures in KP, the provincial government had signed two MoUs focusing on technical, vocational, language and skill development. This would pave the way for the youth to gain employment opportunities with the Chinese industrial establishments in Pakistan. MoUs for Hattar Special Economic Zone Extension and Mansehra Special Economic Zone were also signed, bringing in an anticipated direct investment of $700 million.

Special assistant to the chief minister on industries Abdul Karim Khan and secretary industries Farah Hamid also spoke on this occasion.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2017