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Asfandyar musters up support against change to original map of Gawadar-Kashghar trade route

“Today’s Muslim League is as loyal to Punjab as it was way back in 1947. Muslim League wants development of one province at the cost of others,” Asfandyar Wali Khan

AT-KABUL: Opposition parties warned the federal government of Pakistan against making changes to the original map of Gawadar-Kasghar economic corridor.

Awami National Party (ANP) has called an all-party meeting on the proposed route of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) project on Saturday. The chairman of ANP, Asfandyar Wali Khan, who was chairing the meeting, said that there is no difference between 1947 and today’s Muslim League Party, as it is only loyal to the interests of Punjab. He said that the party is in the quest to hinder implementation of the original map of the economic route.

Political leaders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan provinces said that the Pakistani government has deprived people of the above mentioned provinces from their rights since very first day that Pakistan was carved out from British India. “The proposed trade route has herald hope for people of the two marginalized provinces that it will change their fate. However, Islamabad wants the route to bypass the two provinces and instead pass through Punjab,” the political leaders added.

The all-party meeting was convened in cooperation with the Pasthun and Baluch nationalist parties, Peoples Party of Pakistan (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam.

“Implementation of the economic route project will turn Gawadar into an economic center for exports and imports. The port belong to people of Baluchistan, thus, the route should pass through Baluchistan,” said Jahanzeb Jamaluddin, a senator of Baluchistan National Party.

The Chairman of Hazara Democratic Party, Abdul Khaliq Hazara said that Pakistan wants to leave out Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of CPEC under the pretext of insecurity. “If China can invest $46 billion in the project, it should also exert its efforts to bring security to the two provinces,” he added.

A senior member of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), Reza Muhammad Reza, said that the original route can bring peace and economic prosperity to the militancy-infested areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan. “All ethnic groups in Pakistan are against any changes to the original map of the economic corridor, as it is the only way to make this federation trustworthy and put end to security challenges and move towards economic prosperity,” he added.

A senior member of the PPP and the current leader of the opposition, Khurshid Shah, said that the central government of Pakistan impedes construction of the Gawadar-Kashghar trade route. “ Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif blame other political parties of hindering construction of the route, but I want to tell him that it is the central government that creates obstacles before the economic corridor,” he added.

The political parties issued a resolution at the end of the meeting, where they warned Islamabad of serious crises, if it changed the original map of the route.

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