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Parliamentary committee on CPEC: Western route as dual carriageway recommended



ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Monday recommended to the federal government that the western route be built as a dual carriageway at the beginning to satisfy the smaller provinces.

The recommendation come after the government has been criticised for favouring the eastern route of the corridor, much to the dismay of officials in smaller provinces, ie, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).

The committee met under the chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed in the Parliament House.

The committee was given a detail briefing by National Highway Authority (NHA) Chairman Shahid Tarar and the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) Director General (DG) Major General Muhammad Afzal. The focus of the briefing was on infrastructure projects under the CPEC with particular priority to the eastern route as already decided by the All Parties Conference held in Islamabad on May 28, 2015.

Both NHA chairman and FWO DG informed the committee that the western route, which starts from Gwadar and goes to Kashgar in China via Balochistan, K-P and Punjab, was being built on a priority basis and most of its sectors would be completed by December 2016.

After a detailed discussion, the parliamentary committee urged the government to build the western route as a dual carriageway at the outset and, eventually, there should be a motorway linking Gwadar with the rest of the country along the western route.

Senator Mushahid Hussain said the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC would preserve, promote and protect the interests of the smaller provinces, particularly less developed and remote areas of Balochistan and K-P. He added that CPEC is a long-term national project, which is above politics, province, party or any government, as it has a 15-year life span from.

The Parliamentary Committee was also briefed by the Secretary of Ministry of Water & Power Younas Dhaga on the Suki Kinari power project as well as coal deposits in the provinces of Balochistan and K-P.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2015.

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