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JI announces sit-in against ‘changes’ in CPEC

PESHAWAR: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) on Friday announced an anti-government sit-in in front of the Prime Minister’s House against the alleged change in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Speakers at a protest sit-in after the Friday prayers on Sher Shah Suri Road on the backside of the Governor’s House told a large gathering of JI workers that Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal was hiding details about the proposed economic corridor. JI KP chapter leader Mushtaq Ahmad, provincial minister for local government and JI leader Inayatullah Khan, Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) provincial president and senior provincial minister Sikander Khan Sherpao, JI FATA Ameer Haroonur Rasheed, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Sami) provincial spokesman Maulana Yousaf Shah and Abdul Akbar Chitrali and Tariq Afghan of the Pakhtunkhwa Ulasi Tehrik expressed their views during the sit-in.

Addressing the gathering, Mushtaq Ahmad argued that 80 percent of the funds for the project were allocated for expenditure in Punjab, whereas the remaining 20 percent were allocated to KP and Balochistan. “Our grievance is with the federal government. Pakistan is a unit of four provinces and all provinces should be treated equally,” he added. Mushtaq Ahmad also said that Pakistan as well as the whole region will benefit from CPEC. However, the project should be executed according to the APC held on May 28 under the leadership of the prime minister.

“The prime minister is not just for Punjab. He represents the whole country, therefore he should focus on the development of all provinces. The western route of CPEC should be provided with all facilities, including economic zones, railway track, fibre optical cable, electricity transmission and natural gas pipeline,” he demanded. The JI KP chapter ameer alleged that the federal government was trying to shift all these facilities to the eastern route. “The eastern route will be equipped with all the facilities required for an economic corridor. However, the current maps of the western route do not mention provision of any of the facilities that are present in the eastern route,” he added.

He urged the federal government to clear the uncertainty about the western route and make sure the provision of all facilities of an economic corridor. KP Senior Minister and QWP provincial president Sikander Khan Sherpao told the protesters that all political parties of KP and other smaller provinces were on the same page regarding the changes in CPEC. “The federal government needs to resolve the issue. If the smaller provinces are not given their due rights, we will be compelled to take those by force,” he said.

Provincial Minister for Local Government Inayatullah Khan said that spending 80 percent of the total $46 billion in Punjab alone was an injustice with the smaller provinces.

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