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MPAs criticise change in economic corridor route

MPAs criticise change in economic corridor route

QUETTA: Both treasury and opposition members of the Balochistan Assembly have denounced proposed modifications in the Gwadar-Kashgar route and threatened to hold an indefinite sit-in in Islamabad in protest against the federal government’s biased policy of ignoring the province in the project.

During the assembly’s session presided over by Dr Ruqiya Hashmi on Tuesday, the lawmakers said the agreement with China was a positive sign for the country but the federal government had neglected the Balochistan government and leaders at the ceremony.

The presence of only the Punjab chief minister in the functions showed as if the agreements were being signed between Lahore and Beijing and not the federation of Pakistan and China, they said.




Provincial Ministers Dr Hamid Khan Achakzai and Jaffar Khan Mandokhel; treasury members Nasrullah Zeray, Syed Liaquat Agha and Samina Khan; and Maulana Wasay and Zamarak Khan Achakzai from the opposition benches participated in the discussion on identical adjournment motions tabled by Zamarak Khan and Nasrullah Zeray about proposed change of route of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor.

They warned that if federal government confined itself to the interests of Punjab and neglected Balochistan, it would create an environment of hatred and enhance the sense of deprivation among the people here.

The lawmakers claimed that the main agreement signed in Islamabad was related to the Gwadar seaport but the Balochistan government had been bypassed despite its consent having been necessary.

They asserted that the assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution on Feb 28 against the modification of the route plan and the federal government should have respected the sentiments of the people of Balochistan by implementing the original scheme of connecting Gwadar with Kashgar through Khuzdar, Quetta, Zhob and Dera Ismail Khan. But the government had decided to link the route with Lahore via Multan, depriving the Baloch and Pakhtuns of benefits of the development project, they said.

The debate was adjourned till Friday

Earlier, the opposition members staged a token walkout from the house when the treasury benches refused to nominate the provincial chief secretary to head a medical committee investigating the cause of the recent death of five children in a Qila Saifullah hospital.

Opposition leader Maulana Wasay, on a point of order, said the cause of the deaths was sub-standard vaccine and suggested that the chief secretary head the investigation committee.

Health Minister Rehmat Baloch and Information Minister Abdur Rahim Ziaratwal expressed their unwillingness to accept the proposal.

They contended that the committee’s members, including a representative of the World Health Organisation, would prepare the report based on blood tests’ results and the members should wait for it.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2015

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