CPEC Parliamentary Committee reconfirms support, builds consensus

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The Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Thursday resolved to fully support the project, urging the federal government to take into confidence the political leadership of the four provinces over projects falling under the CPEC.

They were told to address the concerns of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces.

The Parliamentary Committee on CPEC met under the leadership of its chairman, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed.

The committee had an in-depth briefing from the Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal and Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique.

They also addressed all questions and provided clarifications on the reservations addressed by some members.

Ahsan Iqbal provided a comprehensive and detailed briefing on various dimensions of CPEC, the various projects under the CPEC, as well as the cost and timeline of their completion.

Khawaja Saad Rafique provided a perspective on the role of the railways in the context of CPEC and the plans of the railways for future upgrades and expansion. The Ministry of Water and Power secretary provided a written answer to the questions that were asked by MNA and member of the Committee Asad Umar.

During his remarks, Senator Mushahid Hussain said that CPEC is a strategic national project that is above any person, party, or province, and there should be no controversy on this national project because it is a project that will benefit all parts and provinces of Pakistan. He said that the benefit would particularly extend to the less-developed regions of smaller provinces.

He said that the parliamentary committee would ensure that CPEC projects remain equitable and inclusive development and participation of all provinces and regions of Pakistan.

The members of the Parliamentary Committee representing their respective political parties reaffirmed their full support to CPEC and said that they consider it a game changer for the country as well as the pillar of Pakistan-China relations for the 21st century, which will take the Pakistan-China strategic relationship to a new, higher level of friendship, support and solidarity.

They also made it clear that no political party would allow such an important national project to become controversial under any circumstance, since this is a project that will strengthen the federation through socio-economic development as well as promote Pakistan’s pivotal role in regional cooperation with China, Afghanistan and the Central Asian countries.

The members who attended the meeting included the Planning, Development and Reform, Minister Prof.  Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, M/s Akram Khan Durrani, Talha Mahmood, General (r) Salahuddin Tirmizi, Fateh Mohammad Hasni, Shibli Faraz, Asad Umar, General Qadir Baloch, Baz Mohammad Khan, Rana Afzal, Dr Ibadullah, Alhaj Shahji gul Afridi, Gilgit Baltistan Finance & Power Minister Haji Akbar Taban, Ministry of Planning & Development secretary, Ministry of Railways Secretary and senior officers of Ministry of Railway.