ISLAMABAD - Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Tuesday led a protest of members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and opposition parties in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against the federal government, demanding rights for the province, but warned the participants not to repeat the slogans chanted by the party during its prolonged sit-in at D-Chowk.

The MPAs of PTI and opposition parties in the KP Assembly took out the rally from the KP House to the Parliament House in protest against change in China-Pak Economic Corridor, prolonged power outages and delay in payment of net hydel profit to the province by the federal government.

Soon after CM Khattak left the gate of the KP House, followed by a significant number of the provincial lawmakers, an MPA chanted an anti-government slogan that was the PTI’s hallmark during the sit-in.

CM Khattak immediately turned back and warned the MPA not to raise the slogan again and asked the participants  to chant a new slogan “Zaalimo jawab do, Bijli ka hisaab do”, amid a light drizzle in the capital that forced the protesters to arrange umbrellas and raincoats to reach the destination.

Pakistan People’s Party member of KP Assembly, Nighat Orakzai, Jamaat-e-Islami Amir Senator Sirajul-Haq, Qaumi Watan Party’s Sikandar Sherpao, Awami National Party’s Ilyas Bilour and Sardar Babak were among the participants of the protest.

As soon as they reached the Parliament House, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif rushed to pacify the protesters by offering negotiations. He assured them of meeting their demands.

The minister told the protesters during a meeting that their all genuine demands would be met and that that he would take Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on board to resolve the issue of net hydel profit of the province.

Later, CM Khattak told media persons that Khawaja Asif had assured him that the issues of the KP government would be resolved within one week. He said the representatives of the provincial government would hold another meeting with the government on next Friday to further discuss the problems regarding Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and find out their solution. "We are committed to sitting together and resolving all issues,” Khattak said.

Asif, talking to the media persons, also said they had discussed the issues of the KP government in detail, adding the main problem of the net hydel profit had almost solved while the remaining problems would be addressed in a week.

Asif said he would soon hold a meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to resolve the issues concerning the power shortage. “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called a meeting of the parliamentary leaders to address the reservations regarding CPEC,” he said, adding a meeting would be held on Friday to solve electricity and hydel power issues.

Talking to media persons, before the meeting with Khawaja Asif, CM Khattak said KP was being deprived of its legitimate rights.

“Wapda is responsible for electricity theft in the province. If there is loadshedding or electricity theft anywhere, it is Wapda’s responsibility to arrest the culprits,” he said.

He said the KP police and the government would fully support Wapda, so the authority should take action against electricity thieves without blaming anyone.

He asserted the original route of the CPEC was Kashgar, Abbottabad, Haripur, Peshawar, Kohat, Mainwali, DI Khan, DG Khan, Zhob and Gwader, which was now being changed to Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan and Sukkur. The original route, he said, was about 1,800km and the new route was over 2,300km.

He said despite serious reservations of the province, the annual payment of net hydel profit had been capped at Rs 6 billion since the financial year 1991-1992.