ISLAMABAD: Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah, on Friday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressing reservations on projects related to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and called the initiatives taken on the project “Punjab-centric”.
He asked the premier to adhere to the decisions reached at an all-party conference (APC) held over the project in May this year.
The letter maintains that Sindh and smaller provinces are being ignored in the construction of development projects as new power plants are being constructed majorly in Punjab while the small provinces.
“Sindh is being deliberately ignored despite the fact that the province generates 60 per-cent of country’s revenue and holds largest natural gas reservoirs.” read the letter.
Shah also objected on the preference given to the construction of eastern route for project ignoring the short and better western route.
The opposition leader however maintained that that the $46 billion CPEC project is a vital development opportunity for Pakistan and all parties agree on its vitality in strengthening our bilateral ties and economic cooperation with China, But the way the project is being executed has raised fears among stakeholders.
He demanded that the government revisit its policies and priorities regarding execution of the CPEC and other development projects ‘in order to keep the federation intact’ adding that the objective can only be achieved by taking all the federating units into confidence and ratifying their reservations.
Looking at the CPEC
The CPEC is a 15-year project between Pakistan and China which will create a network of roads, railways and pipelines linking China’s west to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan.
The project is part of Beijing’s “Belt and Road” plan to expand its trade and transport footprint across Central and South Asia. It will give China easier access to Middle Eastern oil via the deepwater port of Gwadar.
The project has a planned portfolio of projects totalling around $45 billion, the programme has two main components.
It plans to develop a new trade and transport route from Kashgar in China to the Gwadar Port. The other component envisages developing special economic zones along the route, including power projects.
The first-phase projects will receive $45.69bn in concessionary and commercial loans, for which financial facilitation to the Chinese companies is being arranged by the Silk Road Fund.
These include $33.79bn for energy projects, $5.9bn for roads, $3.69bn for railway network, $1.6bn for Lahore Mass Transit, $66m for Gwadar Port and a fibre optic project worth $4m.
China vows support for CPEC security
Vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission General Fan Changlong arrived in Islamabad on Thursday and held separate meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif.
The General, ranked third in the Chinese hierarchy, pledged to support Pakistan on the security of CPEC .
“We look forward to close cooperation with Pakistan to ensure proper management and security of the CPEC,” Gen Fan Changlong was quoted by ISPR as telling Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif during a meeting at the General Headquarters.
Terming the project equally beneficial for both China and Pakistan, the Chinese military official also appreciated the efforts of Pakistan Army in safeguarding the CPEC route.
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The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily