PA asks centre to honour promise on CPEC PESHAWAR: The members of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday lashed out at federal government for not honouring its commitment made in the all-party conference about initiating work on western route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The members of the treasury and opposition benches were united in asking the federal government to immediately launch work on western route of CPEC otherwise they could go to any extent for it.
The lawmakers were angry as ambassador of China to Pakistan conveyed to Chief Minister Pervez Khattak a few days ago that there was no western route in CPEC. Senior Minister Inayatullah Khan was the first to draw the attention of the house towards the statement of Chinese ambassador that also appeared in a few newspapers.
“It is injustice with people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to exclude the western route from CPEC,” he said while speaking on a point of order. On his request, Speaker Asad Qaiser, who was chairing the session, put off the agenda fixed for the day and allowed the house to debate the new development regarding CPEC.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal had assured political leaderships in the APC that western route would be part of CPEC but the fresh revelation was shocking, said the senior minister.
Lawmakers threaten to go to any extent for start of work on western route
He said that although federal government was assuring the provincial government repeatedly that western route was part of CPEC but the statement of Chinese ambassador was an eye opener for everyone in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The senior minister said that such tactics of federal government would weak federating units. “We cannot remain silent anymore on this issue,” he added. He said when people showed concerns over the CPEC, the federal government dubbed them as lobby of India.
PPP parliamentary leader Mohammad Ali Shah said that it was astonishing to know that western route was not part of CPEC despite passage of several unanimous resolutions by that august house.
“PTI has staged sit-in and rallies in various parts of the country for political gains. If it also launches such a movement to have share in CPEC, PPP would fully support the provincial government,” he added.
Bakht Baidar Khan of Qaumi Watan Party said that Punjab was pushing Pakhtuns against the wall. “Pakhtuns have never raised anti-Pakistan slogans and neither degraded its flag but despite that Punjab is deliberately depriving them of their rights,” he added. The QWP leader said that federal government should wisely handle the issue and avoid creating such a situation that could cause division of the nation.
Mufti Syed Janan of JUI-F said that Pakhtuns rendered sacrifices for Pakistan. Recently when tension between Pakistan and India escalated, Pakhtuns were ready to fight alongside army, he said. “But unfortunately Pakhtuns have never been awarded their due rights,” he added. He also criticised provincial government for ‘wasting’ time in staging rallies against the prime minister instead of fighting for the rights of the province.
Shaukat Yousafzai of PTI said that sense of deprivation among small provinces was increasing owing to discriminatory attitude of the federal government. “This is a clear message of Punjab for other provinces that things only it wants would take place,” he said.
Mr Yousafzai said that chief minister was thinking to have a consultation with parliamentary leaders of other political parties to decide whether they should remain on roads or in the assembly.
PML-N lawmaker Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha said that most of the lawmakers from the treasury benches were absent from the house when such an important issue was being discussed. “It shows seriousness of PTI in CPEC,” he said. He assured the house that PML-N members would support the provincial government in the struggle for its share in CPEC.
Fazl Ilahi, Malik Qasim Khattak and Qalandar Lodhi of PTI; Raja Faisal Zaman of PML-N and JUI-F lawmaker Zareen Gul also spoke on the issue. The chair adjourned the session until Wednesday.