Peshawar, November 10, 2016 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal Thursday said in categorical terms that Western route is integral part of gigantic China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and not a single millimetre change has been made in this route. Briefing newsmen here at Governor House Peshawar after his meeting with Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pervez Khattak and his cabinet members regarding CPEC, Ahsan Iqbal said the agreement reached between provincial government and center on May 2016 about execution of CPEC projects is followed in letter and spirit.
“We are fully implementing the 11 point agreement reached between federal government and KP during our meeting in Peshawar in May 2016 about execution of CPEC projects,” Ahsan reiterated. Without inclusion of western route, CPEC project cannot be completed, Ahsan said and continued that realizing its importance government completed this route within a shortest period of two years by constructing 650 kilometres road from Gwadar to Sohrab. Due to completion of this road a convey of Chinese goods reached Gwadar from Khunjerab while passing through western route, he continued. He also clarified that there is no such facility which is being planned for Eastern route and would not be given to the western route.
It has been decided in principle that one industrial estate would be set up in each province under CPEC and no province will get any additional benefits in this regard, he added. Federal Minister also informed that in the beginning of CPEC, government is concentrating on building of roads and launching of power generation projects. He said in energy sector, our focus is on power generation through coal as a result of which major projects are planned for Southern region including Sind and Baluchistan. He also gave a break up of dollar 35 billion to be invested in energy sector under CPEC out of which dollar 11 billion would be invested in Sind and then major chunk would go to Baluchistan.
He also clarified that most emphasis is given on coal based power generation as we do not want to be depended hydel based electricity which has become very uncertain due to prevailing issue of climate change. Similarly, fuel based power generation capacity can be affected due to fluctuation in prices of furnace oil in international market. Ahsan Iqbal rejected the allegations that Punjab is given preference in execution of CPEC projects and said that all provinces are getting due share.
He also informed that the fiber optic cable would be laid from Khunjaran to Islamabad via passing through Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said some vested elements are creating misconceptions regarding implementation of CPEC as a result of which some misunderstandings have been developed between center and provinces. He again held out assurance that government not default from a single point of agreement reached center and provinces.
Regarding his meeting with Chief Minister, Federal Minister said it was held in a congenial environment and expressed the hope that the concerns of KP politicians will be removed. He also urged Speaker KP Assembly to withdraw his writ petition filed in Peshawar High Court over CPEC, saying it would discourage foreign investment. He said there exist a parliamentary committee on CPEC consisting representatives of each province which is a suitable forum for raising any objection instead of opting for litigation.
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