Islamabad, May 05, 2016 (PPI-OT):The Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) met at the Parliament House in a marathon session under the chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed. The three hour long meeting was briefed by the Chief Minister Balochistan, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal. The meeting had a comprehensive review of the CPEC projects.
The Committee was also briefed by the Acting Chinese Ambassador, Mr. Zhao Lijian, who provided a briefing on CPEC projects as well as extended an invitation to the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC to visit China. This trip will be undertaken during May 20-27, 2016 with visits to Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou industrial park. Senator Mushahid Hussain announced that the date of this visit coincides with the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.
The Chief Minister Balochistan, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri who was especially invited to present the perspective of Balochistan before the Committee, provided a detailed overview of CPEC related projects of Balochistan with particular reference to his recent visit to China. He was accompanied by provincial minister, Rahim Ziaratwal, and the Chief Secretary.
The Chief Minister Balochistan underlined that the people of Balochistan fully support CPEC and they view it as a game changer not just for the province of Balochistan but for Pakistan as a whole. He reiterated that Balochistan government would extend its wholehearted cooperation for the CPEC, more so since Gwadar is the gateway to CPEC.
The Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal briefed the committee about his recent visit to China where he said that issues pertaining to the construction of Gwadar airport and the EastBay Expressway in Gwadar have now been resolved through mutual consultation with the Chinese side and both these projects would begin construction within the next 3 months.
He added that a new Smart Port City Master Plan for Gwadar was also under preparation, in cooperation with Chinese experts. Ahsan Iqbal also announced that 2 universities on the CPEC Western corridor would start functioning by September 2016, one in Gwadar and the other in Zhob, both in Balochistan. He also announced that Eco-friendly development projects for Gilgit-Baltistan have also been approved under the CPEC.
The committee was also briefed about a survey of the wind corridor in Balochistan and KPK and the committee, expressing its dissatisfaction, said that more a detailed survey needed to be done for which the Committee directed to arrange meetings between the Ministry of Water and Power and the Government of Balochistan. They also said that the results of these meetings should be made available to the committee within 90 days.
The committee was also briefed on the progress of Sukki Kenari project on which the committee had arranged meetings and mediation between the federal government and the local residents as well as the provincial government of KPK through the good offices of a two-member Sub Committee Senator Lt. Gen. (R) Salahuddin Tirmizi and Senator Shibli Faraz, which delivered and helped resolve pending issues. The Committee thanked both these members for their relentless efforts.
Senator Mushahid Hussain especially appreciated the role of the Chief Minister Balochistan for his effective support in promoting CPEC and he underlined that CPEC was above any person, party, province or government since it is a national and strategic project, spread over 15 years, under which all provinces are equal stakeholders along with GB and AJK.
He said that given Pakistan’s pivotal role and given the special nature of Pakistan-China relations, CPEC has the potential to change the destiny of the people of Pakistan and the region. In this context, he underlined that for the future prosperity and progress of Pakistan, the role of Balochistan is pivotal as without Gwadar port, there would be no CPEC. Similarly, Gilgit-Baltistan is also key as it borders China.
Senator Mushahid Hussain assured the CM Balochistan that the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC would preserve, protect and promote the rights of the smaller provinces and the under-developed regions, particularly the rights of the people of Gwadar, the youth and the fishermen of Gwadar. He said the Parliamentary Committee functions above party politics, as it represents all the voices from amongst the political parties and provinces of Pakistan.
The Parliamentary Committee unanimously and forcefully recommended that the Steering Committee on CPEC, constituted under the leadership of the Prime Minister, which includes all the Chief Ministers of provinces, should meet at the earliest so that all issues are resolved through consultation and by consensus. He said he had given the proposal of the Steering Committee as it meant an institutional framework for CPEC, so that decisions are with consultation and consensus.
Senator Mushahid Hussain underlined that all the provinces and the political parties of Pakistan are firmly of the opinion that CPEC is the future of Pakistan and the building of CPEC should proceed in an inclusive and transparent manner. He also thanked the Chinese government for their invitation to the Parliamentary Committee.
The meeting was also attended by the CM, Gilgit-Baltistan. Members who attend the meeting were Mr. Lt. Gen. (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Mr. Aftab Sherpao, Rana Mohammad Afzal, Awais Leghari, Dr. Ibaullah, Ghous Bux Meher, Shahji Gul Afridi, Senator Lt. Gen. (R) Salahuddin Tirmizi, Senator Sardar Fateh Mohammad Hassani, Senator Shibli Faraz, Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Esphanyar Bhandhara and Senator Baz Mohammad Khan. The Secretary of the Parliamentary Committee, Mr Khalid Mahmood, was also present.
For more information, contact:
Karamat Hussain Niazi
National Assembly of Pakistan
National Assembly Secretariat,
Islamabad – Pakistan