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Mengal asks govt to address Baloch concerns on CPEC

Mengal asks govt to address Baloch concerns on CPEC

ISLAMABAD: The president of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), Sardar Akhtar Mengal, said here on Thursday that the fate of the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project would not be different from that of the Kalabagh dam without addressing the concerns of Baloch people.

Addressing a press conference along with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, he said “our concerns on the CPEC project are similar to those the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the Kalabagh dam”.

He said the CPEC should benefit the people of Balochistan because Gwadar seaport which was an integral part of the project belonged to them, adding that Baloch people should not be deprived of their due rights.

Take a look: Balochistan Assembly seeks funds for CPEC western route

Sardar Mengal said he had called a multi-party conference on the CEPC on Jan 10 and invited all stakeholders. He said Imran Khan had also been invited and he had agreed to attend it.

Before the joint press conference Sardar Mengal and Imran Khan had held a closed door meeting which lasted about an hour.

Sardar Mengal said the role of the establishment in Balochistan did not change even after the present government came to power. He criticised security agencies’ operations in Balochistan and urged the media to concentrate on what he called “miseries of Baloch people”.

On a question about the reports of replacement of Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch under the Murree agreement, he said he was neither a part of the agreement nor he had any concern over the matter.

Asked if in his view there had been any improvement in Balochistan during the tenure of Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik, the BNP-M leader said that chief minister himself had admitted in recent statement that nothing had changed in the province.

When asked if he would support Sardar Sanaullah Zahri as chief minister, Sardar Mengal said he would support only those who would work for the betterment of the province.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan said the CEPC offered a golden opportunity for development and prosperity and it should not be missed by faulty planning.

He said that through the CPEC China wanted to develop its remote and backward areas which were 9,000 kms away from the sea.

He criticised the federal government and accused it of not paying due attention to the neglected areas of the country.

He said the western route of the CPEC should be as beneficial as the eastern route.

Criticising security agencies’ operations in Balochistan, he said: “We have to keep Balochistan with us by not using force but by providing justice to people”.

He said that although the decision about the CPEC had been taken in 2013 but the nation was kept in dark about its actual route.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2015

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