PESHAWAR - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly lawmakers from both treasury and opposition benches Wednesday threatened that they have an option to present en-bloc resignations, if the federal government doesn’t make western route as part of CPEC project.

The KP Assembly met with Speaker Asad Qaiser in the chair. Taking part in the debate over CPEC project, the JUI-F MPA Zareen Gul said, “Despite the fact that work on this very important project has already been started, we don’t know yet whether western route is or not part of CPEC.”

“Being part of the federation, truth is not being told to us about the western route, which is regrettable, he said.

Provincial lawmakers have the best option to present collective resignations, if the western route, which was included in the original plan, has now been excluded from this vital project.

On his turn, Senior Minister Sikandar Sherpao said that from day one, KP has not been given its due right. “We are being ignored again in the CPEC. We want western route on priority basis.” 

He maintained, “It was for the 7th time that western route issue was being taken up on the floor of the house, it is because, we have concerns that federal government is not making this route as part of the project.” 

“We want practical steps and assurance from the federal government about the western route,” he said. The QWP will be part of any agitation, if that is being launched against federal government, Sherpao declared.

The PTI MPA Shah Mohammad Khan said that CPEC project is very important for China because of being a safe route for it.

“We should not compromise with anyone, otherwise, our coming generations will not forgive us,” he added. He made it clear that PTI’s legislatures would present resignations if KP demands are not met. He alleged that federal government has changed the actual route depriving 11 districts of KP. The CPEC is being built just to benefit Punjab province, he said. 

Meraj Humayun Khan, MPA from QWP, said that KP deserves much more than that of others because of being the hit by militancy, floods and earthquakes. “Unfortunately, we are being even denied our due rights,” she said.

Instead of resolving issues, federal government was bent upon creating controversies and excluding the western route from the CPEC project, she remarked.

Keeping mum over western route issue will be similar to betray Pakhtuns, the PPP lawmaker Sahibzada Sanaullah said.

“We want our rights. We should get united and show seriousness. A delegation of parliamentary parties to be headed by CM Pervez Khattak must meet PM Nawaz Sharif to take up reservations regarding the western route,” he suggested. PPP would certainly join, if any protest or sit-in is planned in Islamabad in this connection, he added. 

Being the Prime Minister, it was responsibility of Nawaz Sharif to remove KP’s reservations about the western route, the JI MPA Azaz Afkari said.

“Don’t ignore us, because, we have already been ignored too many times.”

On his turn, the ANP parliamentary leader Sardar Hussian Babak asked the PM to remove public reservations. The CPEC is a game-changer. “We want our share. He added, “ANP has already launched a movement to press government to make western route as part of the project.” 

“Instead of resignations, we must cope with the situation and raise issue of western route at national and international forums,” he explained. “ANP will fully back the PTI Chairman Imran Khan, if he launches a movement from Lahore against ignoring KP in the CPEC”, he said.

Advisor to CM on Information Mushtaq Ghani said, “We are not against the project, but federal government is making it controversial.”

He said that they are not against Punjab, but, they are demanding their rights.

He told the house that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had too expressed concerns over removing actual western route from CPEC and directed to evolve a joint strategy with other political parties of the province so that to draw future line of action.

“We don’t want just a route, but our demand is the western route with allied facilities,” Mushtaq Ghani said. Moreover, he said that along with a delegation, CM Pervez Khattak would soon leave for China.

The PML-N parliamentary leader Aurangzeb Nalota said that the CPEC project would bring an economic revolution in the country. Under the project, at least three industrial zones and a dry-port would only be set up in Hazara division.

He said that KP CM has no objection over CPEC. He said, “I assure you that there is no change in the project. I have even information that work on the western route has already been started.” 

He, however, informed the house that Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal would come to Peshawar on October 18 to meet CM Pervez Khattak, opposition leader Lutfur Rehman, Speaker Asad Qaiser and parliamentary leaders of political parties to remove their concerns about the western route under the CPEC project.

KP Public Health Minister Shah Farman said that every province must get benefits from the project, but, being a militancy-hit province, KP deserves much more. 

He asked the JUI-F to take up CPEC issue at National Assembly like that of raised by the ANP and others.

In his concluding remarks, Speaker Asad Qaiser said that a joint meeting of parliamentary parties would be held on coming Friday to draw future line of action. Later, he adjourned the session till Friday 3pm.