SUKKUR / ISLAMABAD: Despite formation of a panel to oversee the proposed western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is considering staging a protest against the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for not taking the parliament on board on the issue.
Prime Minister Nawaz on Friday constituted an 11-member committee to hold periodic consultations with the provinces over the CPEC – a multibillion dollar network of roads and rail links that will connect China to Arabian Sea through Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
The committee, headed by the PM, includes chief ministers of all the four provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan in addition to federal ministers of planning, water and power, railways, communications and the chairman of the parliamentary committee on the CPEC.
However, the PPP believes that it is more important for the prime minister to address the parliament on the issue as the committee has no legal position.
“The PPP is considering the options of protest in the next National Assembly session to press the PM to ensure his presence in the house over the issue,” the PPP MNA Imran Zafar Laghari told The Express Tribune.
The lawmaker said the ruling party is going to start a multibillion dollar project but the premier did not bother to utter a single word on it in the parliament.
“The National Assembly’s Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah will chair a meeting on Monday before the session and a final decision will be taken about our course of action,” he said, adding that they would decide whether they should launch a protest inside or outside the parliament.
Talking to The Express Tribune, the PPP lawmaker Naveed Qamar said there is no constitutional position of the committee formed under the PM.
“What’s a constitutional value of the committee where random political leaders were called,” he said, adding that the primer should take the parliamentarians into confidence. He said the PPP did not take part in the committee as it believes that the formal statement from the PM should come in the house.
The lawmaker stressed that the PM should come in the parliament as both the houses are in sessions and address the parliamentarian over the issue. “The party will definitely consider every option if the PM continues to ignore the parliament over the issue,” Qamar added.
Khursheed Shah urges PM to respect parliament
Expressing his reservations over the CPEC, the opposition leader Khursheed Shah also urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take the parliament into confidence over the mega project. “We requested the prime minister to come to the parliament to clear our concerns, but he has shown his reluctance to do so,” Shah said, while talking to media in Sukkur.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2016.