Islamabad Feb 6, 2015: The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee today was briefed by Chairman NHA on the issue of alignment of the proposed China Pakistan Economic corridor.
Taking part in the discussion that followed Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the Chairman NHA has candidly stated that the alignment of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) from Khunjerab to Gawadur via Mianwali, D. I Khan , DG Khan, Khuzdar and Turbat is only long
term. In the short term, according to NHA, the new alignment from Khunjerab to Gawadur was being undertaken so as to utilize the existing communication network and to operationalize the Gawadur port, he said.
He said that once the new alignment becomes operational it will, overtime, create its own vested interests and it will be impossible to revert to the initially planned alignment via D.I Khan and D.G Khan. Thus for all practical purposes the new alignment will become final and irrevocable.
Farhatullah Babar said that the decision about the Economic corridor’s alignment fundamentally is a political decision and has to be addressed at a political level; it cannot be addressed by bureaucrats attending today’s meeting. The basic issue in deciding the alignment is whether any weight age is given to national harmony and integrity by connecting the less developed areas of all provinces including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan and tribal areas to the economic corridor, he said. This was a political and not technical issue, he said.
Farhatullah Babar asked three specific questions so that the Parliament could take it up at a higher political level.
1. What additional uplift projects will require to be completed and at what additional total cost if the initially planned route namely Mianwali, D.I. Khan, D.G Khan , Khuzdar and Turbat is followed? A list of the roads infrastructure projects already available along the initially planned route should be made available.
2. How much of the additionally required infrastructure has already been included in the PSDP so as to get a clear picture of the actual cost of the new works to be undertaken?
3. How much time will it take to make the originally planned route fully operational? As for the operationalization of Gawadur port is concerned it will become operational after the opening of Rattadero Gawadur road which the Chairman NHA has said will be completed by May this year , he said.
It was decided that the NHA will give its replies to these questions in one week.