Lawmakers from Balochitan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are criticizing the federal government the way the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is being handled by the government which has mostly revolved around its design that has tilted towards favouring Punjab and Sindh.
To brush aside the speculations Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal tried calming the provincial government in K-P by holding a meeting at the Governor House in Peshawar.
This effort did calm the nerves of officials in K-P up to some extent, who are convinced the federal government has ignored the province in its development plans. Minister was of the view that eastern route of the project was given priority because basic infrastructure skeleton was present and needed less time to complete the roads and main highways. But roads under western route needed more time to be completed due to underdevelopment of the areas. This strategy makes more sense; it does not mean that provinces of the western routes are being ignored.
But federal government should have taken other provinces in confidence and should have handled situation better diplomatically. It is important here that the federal government does not give the impression that since K-P has been plagued by security concerns and is run by a party that sits in the opposition; it makes little sense for the PML-N to pay too much heed to its demands.
We all need to understand that we need to work with more vision and efficiency because China is investing billions on the project and our internal petty disputes can affect the progress of the project. We also need to keep it in mind that the project may be important for the Chinese, but it is absolutely crucial for Pakistan. Usually party in power chooses to invest the most in its stronghold but this mega project should not be doomed with discrimination.
Federal government must address the reservations of other provinces regarding CPEC development.