SHABQADAR: Lawmaker Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao claimed on Saturday that Pakhtuns are being deprived of the benefits of the game-changing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Sherpao made these remarks while laying the foundation stone of two small dams in the Mohmand-Charsadda border area.
He said that the equitable treatment of all regions in the country in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was vital for ensuring the state’s sovereignty.
Expressing concern over unequal treatment in CPEC projects, he said that if equal rights were not guaranteed to all provinces, frustration among other provinces was natural, which would ultimately hurt the federation.
He wondered if China was using CPEC for developing its underdeveloped regions. “Why does this not hold true for developing Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Fata and Balochistan?” he asked.
Without specifying the Panama Papers, he also criticised the media campaign against corruption and said that a similar campaign should be launched to give due rights for underdeveloped regions of the country.
Criticising the federal government’s policy towards Pakhtuns, Sherpao said that although the government had announced plans to end power outages all over the country, costly power projects had only been initiated in Punjab, adding that Pakhtuns were being deprived of their due rights in power and gas.
According to him, Pakhtuns would not be able to say goodbye to load-shedding even after 2018 because by then, they would be declared defaulters to deprive them of their rights in the power sector.
Stressing the need for quickly building Munda Dam, he said that some elements wanted to delay the 470-megawatt power project which would also protect Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshehra from floods.
He said that if there were any further delays, he would launch a protest campaign.
He also called for holding a transparent census across the country and merger of Fata into K-P without any delay, and said that QWP had always opposed a boundary between Fata and the province.
The dams, expected to be completed in six months, are expected to irrigate 2,500 acres of land besides providing clean drinking water to 10,000 families.
This is the first time that any political leader has ever visited this tribal area.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2017.