ISLAMABAD: Senators on Monday sought details from the Planning Commission of Pakistan about the allocations in budget 2015-16 for the western alignment of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as per the consensus developed at the meeting of All Parties Conference on May 28 to construct the alignment in the initial phase.
The senators expressed dismay over the government’s vague response about the completion of the alignment as the document did not specify its details.
The meeting of the special Senate committee constituted for the CPEC project was chaired by Senator Taj Haider of the Pakistan People’s Party.
Other senators raised the issue of completion of not only the first, but also the eastern and central alignments as well.
They pointed out that despite commitments of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the APC for the construction of the western alignment, there is no visible earmark of this in the Public Sector Development Programme.
A senator from Balochistan pointed out that the government must also provide details to the committee about the steps to be taken under the CPEC to the people of Gwadar and adjoining areas due to which China is going deal with Pakistan.
“The socio-economic situation of the people of Gwadar is miserable because their source of income was fishing which has been banned since the start of the port construction,” said one of the Baloch senators, Mir Kabir Ahmed Muhammad Shahi. The senator added that the living conditions have worsened as even drinking water is a scarcity to the inhabitants of the port area.
He said that the government must explain whether it would develop refineries and industrial zones in Gwadar to provide employment opportunities over there.
Responding to the allegations, Federal Minister for Planning and Commission Ahsan Iqbal said that the government has prioritised and decided to construct the western route in the first phase.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2015.
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