Senators call for giving priority to less developed areas in CPEC project

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ISLAMABAD, Jul 27 (APP): Lawmakers in the Senate on Wednesday urged the federal government to give priority to less developed areas of the country and taking the smaller provinces into confidence to reap the real benefits of $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Project.

They were speaking on an adjournment motion moved by Senator Dr.Jehanzeb Jamaldini of Balochistan National Party (Mengal) about the salient points of agreement between Pakistan and China.

Initiating debate, mover of the motion Dr.Jehanzeb Jamaldini said they were not against the development but priority in this gigantic project of national interest should be given to the less developed areas of the country.

He said the smaller provinces had reservations about CPEC and it must be removed in larger interest of the country and federation.He said the parliament should be taken into confidence about the project.

Mir Kabeer of National Party said reservations of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa about western route of the project had not yet been removed.

Azam Khan Swati of PTI said the CPEC was a great opportunity, which would benefit our coming generations but priority should be given to less developed areas of the country and smaller provinces should be taken into confidence.

Usman Kakar of Pakhtunkhwa Awami Milli Party was critical of not including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan in energy, motorways and energy projects of CPEC.

PTI’s Noman Wazir was of the view that China had included its restive and radicalized areas in the CPEC to bring them at par with developed areas of its country and the same policy should be adopted for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan as these areas were the most affected areas from terrorism.
Ilyas Bilour of ANP was also critical that only 45 kilometer road had been given to KPK in western route of CPEC and there was no energy and optic fibre projects on it.

Taj Haider of PPP said that keeping in view importance of CEPC, the Senate committee was also set up to overview its progress. He said that efforts were being made to make it controversial.

He said the committee also asked to make the agreement public besides disclosing minutes of meetings of joint action committee of CPEC.He said despite clear announcements, western route was being ignored resulting into confusion among the people of smaller provinces.

He said progress and prosperity of Pakistan directly linked with development of under-developed areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Sassi Palijo of PPP said various promises were made during All Parties Conference on CEPC but these were not fulfilled.She alleged that the project was being diverted towards only one province.

She said that the Senate Committee had unanimously adopted resolution to include Katti Bandar in CPEC but it was not included. She said that Sindh was also ignored in vision 2025.

Javed Abbasi of PML-N said CEPC was an umbrella of projects and maximum component of around $ 33 billion would be spent on energy related projects.

He said that maximum plants of power generation were being set up in Sindh and Balochistan.

He said the project would bring the under developed areas of KPK and Balochistan at par with the developed areas of the country.

Abbasi said it would not only be a game changer but would also bring progress and prosperity.

He said that the country would become economic hub with completion of the CEPC and people would get employment. The CEPC would also help end load-shedding in the country which had badly crippled the industries besides making the life of people miserable.

He said that no government could shelve projects initiated for welfare and progress of the people and country.

Farhatullah Babar of PPP said the project was being made controversial. He questioned why the government was keeping the House in dark about the agreement signed in this regard.

He said he local industries would suffer if materials and
labour were imported from China Barrister Saif of MQM said the game changer project would become money changer.

Mere constructing roads and buildings could not bring prosperity to any nation, he added.

He said sense of deprivation among the people would increase if there were no transparency in such mega projects.

Saud Majeed of PML-N said that China always supported Pakistan in odd hour and safeguarded its interest at international forums.

He said that we should take care of it. He said Chinese companies were making investment in Pakistan and they would also protect their interests.

Mian Ateeq of MQM said CEPC was game changer project for Pakistan but despite lapse of two years, we could not finalize its routes.

He said it was the responsibility of the government to provide complete information about the project to the House.

He also requested the Prime Minister to address the reservations of members and people in this regard.

He said various agreements were signed during Chinese President’s visit to Pakistan but details of the projects were not shared with the House.

Daud Khan Achakzai of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party said that it was an important project but its details were being concealed. He said they came to know that Gwadar port has been declared tax-free port for 40 years.

He said the PM should come and take the House into confidence on this important issue. He also questioned which energy projects were started in KPK, Balochistan and Sindh under CPEC Nihal Hashmi of PML(N) said there was a need to highlight importance of CPEC and make the project a success. He said the Prime Minister played his role and created consensus by holding conferences and we should not put blame on one another as it weakened the federation.

Mukhtar Ahmed Dhamra of PPP said sense of deprivation among provinces should be removed. He said Sindh was of the view that CPEC should be for all. The Prime Minister should call APC to remove reservations, he added.