ISLAMABAD -  The Pakistan People’s Party on Thursday said that the online registration system for Gwadar expo had deprived hundreds of locals of Gwadar and adjoining areas from participating in the expo scheduled for January 29 and January 30.

In a statement, PPP Central Information Secretary Dr Nafisa Shah said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz- led government was insensitive towards the rights of the people of Balochistan and Gwadar.

“The purpose of the expo is to invite and attract investments in Gwadar in order to develop it into an industrial hub. However it is imperative that local communities in Gwadar own the process of development and are an integral part of businesses, growth and even investment”, she said.

The PML-N led government, she alleged, had made Gwadar an object and vehicle through which “they will showcase the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor without taking into account the local communities and their needs.”

She added: “With no internet working in the area an exclusively online system is likely to deprive local residents from participating in an important event.”

Shah raised her concern that despite hundreds of millions of dollars worth investment in CPEC, the people of Gwadar had yet to benefit from the process.

“As yet there is no effort by the federal government to provide water and electricity to the communities of the area. The success of CPEC must be measured by the development of the people of Gawdar which continue to be deprived of the basic needs like water and electricity,” she maintained.

Meanwhile, the Deputy General Secretary PPP Balochistan Ejaz Baloch and the PPP Gwadar chapter demanded that the government ensure that the Expo was made inclusive and open event ensuring ownership of local businesses and small enterprises in the process.

PPP MP asks govt to come out clean on Fata reforms

The Pakistan People’s Party on Thursday asked the government to come out clean on the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas’ reforms issue.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the piecemeal extension of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court at the “whim of the federal government as proposed in the bill passed by the National Assembly amounted to hoodwinking the people and smacked of something sinister and asked the government to come out clean on it”.

Speaking at a seminar on the proposed legislation to extend the jurisdiction of superior courts to Fata organized by Bhutto Foundation here, he said just like Fata, the superior courts initially also did not have jurisdiction over the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas including Chitral, Dir, Swat, Malakand.

“In 1973, the jurisdiction of superior courts was extended to these areas with immediate effect and without requiring official notification. Why the scheme is designed differently now. There is a lurking suspicion of some foul play.”

He suspected that the piecemeal extension may be employed to pave way for Shakil Afridi's release under foreign pressure. “I am not against Afridi's release because he has been wrongly sentenced under Frontier Crime Regulations for allegedly helping Mangal Bagh and not for locating Osama Bin Laden,” he said. “However it is wrong to hoodwink the tribal people with false hopes and vague promises,” he said.

Senator Babar said that an amendment bill had already been moved in the Senate for the immediate applicability of the proposed legislation throughout tribal areas. “We will also push for a constitutional amendment bill to take away the legislative powers in respect of Fata from the president and vest it in the parliament,” he said.

Peace and development in tribal areas, he said, will remain elusive until the elephant in the black hole of Fata was identified and reined in, pleading for a review of Pakistan's Afghan policy. “Afghanistan must be treated as a sovereign and an independent country and not as Pakistan's fifth province,” he said.

The lawmaker also demanded immediate demolition of the existing system of levy and collection of taxes, cess and rahdari (toll tax) by the political agents in tribal areas which were “arbitrary, illegal and a tool for corruption.”

The poor people, the Senator said, were subjected to illegal tax on transportation of every merchandise of daily use. He said it was a lucrative business for some and demanded an end to it.

The PPP leader also called for the audit of the public spending by the civil-military bureaucratic complex in Fata.

PPPP SEEKS APPLICATIONS FOR SENATE TICKETS

Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians Secretary General Farhatullah Babar on Thursday invited applications from candidates wanting to contest Senate elections by January 30.

According to a statement, PPPP candidates are required to send their applications to PPPP President Asif Ali Zardari along with a bank draft of Rs50,000 in the name of “Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians.” The applications should reach the PPPP Central Secretariat Islamabad by January 30.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has approved a schedule for the Senate election likely to be held in the first week of March.

CPEC ZARDARI’S VISION: BOKHARI

Pakistan People’s Party Secretary General Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari said on Thursday that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was the vision of former president Asif Ali Zardari and friendship with China was cemented by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

In a statement, Bokhari said Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif cannot change the historic facts “by telling lies.”  “If Asif Ali Zardari had not taken back Gwadar port from Singapore, and given to China, this corridor could have not been materialized. Now the Sharifs are trying to make this project controversial,” he said.