PESHAWAR: Members of Corridor Front have said the federal government has dodged the Chinese government regarding China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). They insisted the “peaceful completion” of the $46 billion mega project was only possible through its original route.
This was said in a press conference at Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday.
According to members of the corridor, no one can guarantee the completion of the corridor if Pukhtuns and the people of Balochistan are not kept in the loop.
The members said the federal government was misleading the Chinese government as the newly proposed route is 1,200 miles longer than the original route. They threatened to hold a sit-in outside the Chinese Embassy and Chief Minister House if the concerns of the Pukhtuns and the people of Balochistan are not addressed.
“No Pakistani will resist CPEC,” Dr Said Alam Mehsud, a member of the corridor, told participants at the conference. “Since it is a game-changer for the region, we would like to tell the Chinese government to invest in it, once Pukhtun and Baloch residents are taken into confidence.”
He dispelled the impression that the suicide attack on a hospital in Quetta was an attempt to sabotage CPEC. Mehsud added the armed forces should mediate the situation instead of becoming one of the concerned parties.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has proved to be the prime minister of Punjab only,” he said. “But the armed forces should belong to the whole country and not discriminate between regions.”
According to the corridor front member, the forces should not follow in the footsteps of those who have been making CPEC a dispute. “People have not yet forgotten Kalabagh Dam and CPEC should not become the next Kalabagh,” Mehsud said.
Awami National Party-Wali leader Fareed Tufan said there is no alternative to the original route of CPEC.
“I wonder who will guarantee CPEC’s peaceful completion if Pukhtun and the people of Balochistan are ignored and its benefits not shared with us,” Tufan added.
He said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl Fazlur Rehman, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq were invited to join them. However, they were reluctant to attend the conference.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2016.
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