Political leaders of southern region warn for agitation if ignored in CPEC

Peshawar: Political leaders and lawmakers from Southern districts of KP warned the federal government to launch mass agitation and protest, if the southern region was ignored under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

Speaking at a joint press conference of a special committee on CPEC, comprising of elected representatives and leaders of various political parties from southern region, at press club here on Monday, ANP Senior leader, Senator Afrasiab Khattak said that the proposed western route under CPEC, was incomplete without inclusion of southern districts of KP. He added that this route has much significant due to close proximity with neighbouring Afghanistan and Central Asian Republic countries, and urged it should not ignore under the economic corridor project.

Despite the allocations of 35billion dollars for energy projects, of the total 46billion dollars of CPEC, he regretted that no mega energy project, except suki kinari hydro power project (HHP) on Kunhar River in Manshera, was launching under the economic corridor in KP. He asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to not extend support, until the southern region was not given their due rights and share in the projects.

PTI MNA from Kohat, Shehryar Afridi, PML-Q Central leader, Salim Saifullah Khan, KP Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Imtiaz Shahid, PTI MNA from Lakki Marwat Col (retired) Amirullah Marwat, GG Jamal, MNA from tribal region, PML-N provincial general secretary, Rahmat Salam Khattak, former provincial minister, Mian Nisar Gul, MPA from Karak, Malik Qasim Khan, PTI woman MPA Zareen Zai and other leaders of other political parties from southern region attended the press conference.

Mr Khattak said the expansion of Indus highway, along with gas, oil and other natural resources of southern region, including karak, Kohat, D.I.Khan, Hangu, Tank, Lakki Marwat, should be efficiently exploited under the CPEC. He urged the government to pay attention toward western route, which is less developed as compared to eastern route.

He further added that the route is much viable and secure for launching projects in energy, gas, oil, infrastructure and other sectors. He said the CPEC western route should passed through KP, Fata and Balochistan, to end deprivation and backwardness region, that adversely affected by terrorism and militancy, he said.

Saleem Saifullah said the eastern route is much developed then western, which not to be ignored under the CPEC. He said the government should give maximum focus on western route, to bring economic prosperity and development there. “We are not against the launching of projects on eastern side of CPEC, but region under western should be deprived from their due share and rights”, he demanded.

He said they elected to power with masses vote, and to raise their issues and problems at floor of parliament. So, we will not tolerate any unjust with terrorism affected people of KP, especially southern region, he added.

He said if the western route would make efficient and develop, it will give further boost to trade and economic relations with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republic countries. He warned that if the government was failed to give due share and rights to southern districts of KP, they will launch mass agitation campaign against it.

Shehryar Afridi said that misperceptions was developed by government about western route that it was not secure and unfeasible for launching projects under the CPEC.

He viewed the people of southern region, had rendered matchless sacrifices in ongoing war against terrorism, therefore, they should not be deprived from their due rights, he asked. He demanded the government to prioritize the western route, especially inclusion of southern region under CPEC.

Replying a question, Mr Afridi said they had raised voice on several occasions at floor of parliament regarding western route. He, however, said they didn’t provide actual facts and figures regarding the CPEC project.

Why the government not taken relevant ministries and stakeholders, before signing agreements CPEC with China, he asked. He expressed the fear that if the government was continued its discrimination with unprivileged and backwards regions, then the anti-state forces will take benefit from the situation.

PTI MNA said they will go any extend, and strongly agitate, if the rights were not given to people of southern districts of KP. He, however, said they will hold meetings with Chinese ambassador, Prime Minister, JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, KP Chief Minister, and others, before the launching of their protest movement.