As if the Panama Leaks petition, the defamation suit against CM Punjab by Jahangir Tareen and the Khattak versus Nisar proceedings were not enough, the PTI government has now added another petition to the mix, except this one is potentially far more detrimental than the others, because it jeopardises a developmental project that can change the fate of the nation. The KP government’s decision to file a petition in the Peshawar High Court against the federal government for the development of the western part of the CPEC at par with the eastern route needlessly politicises an issue when there is no cause for it.

The utter futility of this legal battle is perfectly displayed in the fact that the petitioner requires for the federal government to make commitments to complete the western route in conjunction with the eastern one, and that no funds allotted for the former are rerouted for work on the latter. This is already happening. The funds allotted for each venture are project-specific and tied to China’s requirements, which means that the government cannot just shift funds around at whim.

Not only that, but the refusal of opposition parties within the KP provincial government to take part in this petition reflects that the PTI government in KPK is the only party is looking to cause problems where there are none. Clearly, partisan interests are at play, and even provincial issues have taken the back seat. Economic projects that serve to benefit the nation as a whole should not be used for political mileage.

Provincial infighting is a common feature in all countries, where competing interests often take the front seat. But this is only acceptable if the federation at large is not affected. The provinces should make no mistake, CPEC is not being constructed for the improvement in the fortunes of the provinces; this is just a positive side-effect. The idea here is to usher in a new era of growth for the whole country, and this will happen, because the government is bound to finish both corridors – even if it wanted to side-line the little provinces it simply couldn’t.

If for nothing else, Pakistan needs to be wary of disrupting work on CPEC simply because of the glee that emanates from India whenever there is a hint of an issue with regards to the project. There is a reason Pakistan’s rivals are concerned; the two corridors have the legitimate potential of becoming game-changers for Pakistan’s economy, and hence, provide much needed stability in the country. This is no time for legal impediments to be propped up. The provincial governments will be doing the country a great disservice if work is stalled as a result.