Monday, April 27, 2015

ANP to convene all-party conference on economic corridor

PESHAWAR: Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan said on Sunday that the federal government had planned to give 70 per cent share of the China-sponsored Gwadar-Kashgar economic corridor project to Punjab and 30 per cent to the remaining three provinces and announced to call an all-party conference in Balochistan to press the government to execute the project in its original shape to benefit all people of the country equally.

“Punjab will get the lion’s share of the project, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan will receive only 30 per cent of it,” he said while addressing a press conference after presiding over a meeting of the party’s think-tank here at the residence of party leader Ghulam Ahmed Bilour.

Mr Khan said that the federal government must take on board the representatives of all political parties on this issue of national importance and avoid any drastic changes to the corridor plan.

Take a look: Parties vow to resist change in Pak-China corridor route

He reiterated his party’s opposition to the proposed changes in the economic corridor route by the federal government and announced to host an all-party conference in Balochistan to press the government to follow original route of the project.

“There is an urgent need to enlist support of all parties on this significant issue,” he said.

Asfandyar claims centre plans to give 70pc share of corridor project to Punjab

The ANP chief said that his party welcomed the Chinese investment in Pakistan with the hope that it would benefit all the provinces equally and help economic uplift of the people. He said that a delegation of ANP would also hold a meeting with the Chinese ambassador in Islamabad to convey the party’s reservations about the proposed changes in economic corridor project.

He said that ANP had often been accused of working against the country’s interests when it raised voice for the rights of its people, but they did not care and would continue to highlight people’s problems. He said that the politics of confrontation was not good for the national integrity and all issues should be resolved in consultation with the provinces.

He said that China accorded more importance to the proposed economic route in an effort to contribute to the efforts being made for bringing improvement in the life of people in the insurgency-stricken areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that the people harmed by a wave of terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan would never accept changes to the project.

Mr Khan said that any change in the trade route would increase sense of deprivation among the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. He said that development schemes should be started in militancy-hit areas to bring prosperity in people’s lives.

“We are going to organise an APC in Balochistan to apprise the local leadership there about the government’s plan concerning Pak-China Economic Corridor,” he said.

The ANP president said that despite political differences between his party and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, they would back any move by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to ensure the province’s rights.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2015

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