ISLAMABAD -  Federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal yesterday said the issue of western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should be resolved in the parliamentary committee instead of taking it to the courts or discussing in the media.

“The decision of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to take the issue of CPEC to court is unrealistic as it will create difficulties for the province,” Ahsan Iqbal said while talking to media here after signing an MOU with the USAID. He said that foreign investment could not be attracted through courts rather such an action would have a negative impact. 

The minister informed that reservations of KP chief minister and other PTI leadership were removed at a high-level meeting held at the Planning Commission on May 11. “The demands of KP leadership had also been included in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP),” he added. Terming revival of economy and prosperity of the country above politics, he informed all the provinces were being given equal share in the CPEC.

He maintained that several hydel power generation projects, including Dasu Dam, DiamirBhasha Dam and Munda Dam were initiated in KP. He said Indus Highway and Lawari Tunnel were being completed in the province while 13 projects were approved by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in KP.

About western route, he said the QuettaGwadar section of the route had already been completed while D.I.KhanBurhan section of the route would be completed before 2018 by the NLC. Ahsan said the underdeveloped and backward areas would get even more benefit from the mega project. The national level project of CPEC should not be used for party politics, he added.  He said China was Pakistan’s timetested friend and partner adding. “We should not politicise the CPEC project,” he added. He expressed the confidence that all the differences over this issue would be resolved in a democratic way.

Regarding Panama issue, he said, the matter was now in the Supreme Court and nobody should try to influence the apex court. He said the Supreme Court would decide this matter in accordance with the Constitution and the law. 

Talking about PTI leadership, he said that those who were showing papers to public from the container are now worried to present proofs of their claims in the court.

Earlier, the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to coordinate on integrated energy planning in Pakistan. Through the MOU, the integrated energy planning process will help policy-makers understand the impacts of different energy policy options and support effective short-term decisions that are consistent with long-term energy and economic objectives. Secretary Planning Commission Naseem Khokhar and USAID’s Pakistan Mission Director, John Groarke signed the MoU. Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform witnessed the ceremony.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal said the country was able to produce up to 16,000MW power in its 70 years while this capacity has been increased to produce an additional 10,000MW power by 2018. He said that the objective of this MOU was to set up an integrated energy management centre to optimise demand and supply of the electricity in the country.  He further added that it was the right time to do right estimation of our future energy needs.

Speaking at the ceremony, USAID Mission Director John Groarke said: “Through the improved planning process, governments and utilities will evaluate a range of feasible policy and resource options and assess them against a common set of planning objectives and criteria. The integrated energy planning process will help policy-makers understand the impacts of different energy policy options.”