Centre’s reply on western route ‘elimination’ sought

Published: January 11, 2017

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the federal government on a petition filed by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser over what he calls the “elimination of the western route” from the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The court also ordered the federal government to file a reply within 15 days and adjourned the case.

When the plea was taken up by a division bench, comprising Chief Justice PHC Yahya Afridi and Justice Ikramullah, the petitioner’s counsel Advocate Qazi Muhammad Anwar argued that K-P was being deprived of CPEC’s fruits.

He argued that immediately after signing the CPEC agreement with the Chinese government, a strong lobby sprang into action in support of the eastern route. The counsel said that though concerns were conveyed to the prime minister and the premier also convened an All Parties Conference but it did not yield any results.

“PM Nawaz assured the provincial leadership of K-P at the APC that the western route would be completed on priority basis along with all relevant components including transmission lines, economic zones and railway tracks and fibre optic,” he stated.

He prayed the court to direct the prime minister to honour his commitment he made at an All Parties Conference in May 2015, regarding the construction of ‘western route’ of CPEC.

The petition said that the federal minister for planning and development sought proposals from the provincial government, and the K-P chief minister proposed construction of a western railway track and motorway from DI Khan to Peshawar, circular railway line from Peshawar to Nowshera, Charsadda, Mardan and back to Peshawar. Alternative route through Gilgit-Chitral via Malakand was also proposed. It said that the chief minister also demanded motorway from Karak-Taxila via Kohat-Jhand among other projects.

The K-P government proposed that a representative of provincial government might be associated with CPEC directorate, joint working group and joint coordination committee to oversee progress on the western alignment of the project.

The petition requested PHC to direct the federal government to provide funds for eight industrial parks, electricity, gas, telephone lines, fiber optics, railway line and other relevant services under the project besides the proposals suggested by the provincial government.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2017.

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