Political Leaders Agree on Economic Corridor; PM Nawaz

On Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated that all political parties have given their support for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He spoke at the All Parties Conference (APC) in Islamabad, which he was chairing. Numerous political leaders including opposition leader Khursheed Shah, JI chief Siraj-ul-Haq, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PPP leader Sherry Rehman, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and PTI leader Shah Mehmood were in attendance. The PM started the meeting by expressing his condemnation of the May 13th brutal attack on the Ismaili community in Karachi and appreciated the efforts of Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah.

He thanked the chief minister and law enforcement agencies for catching the culprits behind the Safoora attack so quickly. Discussing the CPEC, Nawaz stated that the corridor was of immense importance in the history of Pakistan. He reiterated that such investments hadn’t taken place in the country in the past. The Prime Minister asserted that China has always been Pakistan’s friend and it supports the country without choosing a party in particular. He added that this would send a good message to China as it would show them that the whole country is committed to this economic corridor project.

The premier said that as far as national matters were concerned, the country should have a single voice and stance. Later on, the podium was taken up by Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning and Development who justified that a few ‘lawmakers’ had regarding this corridor. He stated that lots of people had said that the $46 billion were being inefficiently distributed. $34 billion has gone to energy and been handed over to private companies who work on bankable projects. He also mentioned that the route of the corridor hadn’t been changed and it would be completed by 2030.

The APC had been held for taking the political parties into confidence regarding the route of the planned Economic Corridor between China and Pakistan. The project has been called a ‘fate changer’ not just for Pakistan, but for the whole region. It will oversee the building up of industrial zones and energy projects in the country and also the establishment of three alignments from Gwadar to Kasghar. This was the second All Parties Conference that was conducted for the purpose of the economic corridor. It had been convened earlier on May 13th. It had met with heavy criticism from different politicians who wanted it to be postponed because of the horrific Safoora incident.

The meeting was held, but had been cut short. The purpose of the APC had been to evolve consensus on the route proposed for the multibillion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Project. However, it stayed inconclusive because the participants of the APC had decided to make a parliamentary committee for overseeing the project. A comprehensive briefing had been given by Ahsan Iqbal for the benefit of the participants regarding the economic corridor and he said that it wasn’t confined to a particular route, but it was a concept which included all parts of the country.