As a result, according to an official handout, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has decided to stage a widespread protest against what he called a “deceitful act” by the federal government. He announced every relevant forum would be moved to protect the rights of the province.
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Khattak said all parliamentary parties in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly would be taken on board for this unprecedented protest. He warned the K-P government would withdraw any cooperation being extended to the CPEC till its reservations were addressed.
The CM added actions could include stopping the acquisition of land for the K-P portion in the multibillion-dollar project.
The decision was taken at a meeting held at the CM Secretariat on Wednesday with Khattak in the chair. Among others, the meeting was also attended by the K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Minister for Mineral Development Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli, Additional Chief Secretary Dr Hamad Awais Agha, CM Secretariat Strategic Planning Unit Chairman Sahibzada Muhammad Saeed, Pakhtunkhwa Ulasi Tehreek leader Dr Said Alam Mehsud and Advocate Tariq Afghan.
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The tiger’s share
It was disclosed by Alam Mehsud that the federal government had only allocated a share of 1.4% for K-P from the total budget allocation. On the other hand, Punjab was handed the lion’s share at 80.4% of the budget for the years 2015-17.
Participants were told the six key components of CPEC had also been changed to favour Punjab.
It was also mentioned that the DI Khan–Mianwali-Burhan link of the western route was also missing in the latest CPEC map which had been kept secret by the federal government. The meeting was told Mianwali was being linked to Islamabad through another planned road at a cost of Rs10 billion under the public sector development programme (PSDP).
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By way of the east
Over 51% of the budget earmarked for the current year for the motorway project of the corridor would be spent on the eastern route, participants were told. The remainder would be utilised to connect Lahore with Gwadar and Karakoram Highway.
With reference to the monographic study of roads and their facts as reflected in the maps and other documents of the federal government, it was revealed the metro bus and underground fast track railways project had also been incorporated into CPEC. However, the routes linked Rawalpindi to Karachi through Gujranwala, Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad, thus totally excluding Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Spokesperson for the K-P Government Mushtaq Ghani said, “We have a very principled stance over [CPEC]. Our province is war-torn and poor; first rights over the corridor belong to our province.”
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He added, “We will resist at every forum. The corridor would benefit areas up to Waziristan if passed through the alignment decided earlier.” Ghani said, “Elimination of militancy is conditioned with eradication of poverty. If you take everything to Punjab, how will you help these people raise standards of life and from being used by the wrong hands?”
Ghani added, “So Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has to show himself as the true prime minister of the country not the prime minister of Punjab. We want the earlier alignment and will not take any lollypop for abandoning our stance.” In the handout, the CM termed the federal government’s plans a betrayal which would shock the people of the province.
The CM announced parties would be taken into confidence before launching a joint protest against the Centre’s withdrawal from commitments made on May 28.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2015.