Haroon Janjua

ISLAMABAD - Despite the government’s announcement on Sunday regarding the allocation of Rs 49.5 billion for the western route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Awami National Party (ANP) is still not satisfied with this move.

ANP believes that such statements have been made by the government several times in the past and have been changing the figures in every briefing about the CPEC project.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal on Sunday announced that the government is committed to the western route of CPEC on priority basis by allocating all the required funds for it under the Public Sector Development Programme.

Talking to The Nation, ANP senator Sitara Ayaz said, “These claims are only limited to rhetoric and even the amount allocated for survey of the D.I. Khan Motorway has not been spent adequately. The government is not committed to timely completion of the western route and playing delaying tactics by mentioning different figures every time”.

Senator Sitara said, “It seems that the government is joking on different budget allocations on various occasions for the western route. Whenever the government gives briefing on the western route, the figures look different. Such attitude is not acceptable for ANP and our party will seriously raise the issue as the future of north western region is associated with the route of the giant CPEC project”.

ANP senator Afrasiab Khattak told The Nation, “There is only single main road set for the western route in comparison to the huge spending on the eastern side of the corridor. Equal allocation should be made for all the region of entire country”.

“Progress and prosperity of the people of the western Pakistan is related with this project and equality and justice should be considered as this important decision is directly linked with the people,” he said.

However, Iqbal dispelled the impression that some elements are creating confusion regarding the CPEC western route. He claimed that there is complete consensus among all political parties and stakeholders over the western route.

On June 15 Ahsan Iqbal had assured the upper house that the government was committed to complete the western route by 2018 and presented a different figure of Rs 35 billion allocations for western alignment of CPEC.

However, since the beginning of the CPEC project there were immense reservations from various political parties on the western alignment of the corridor and the controversy also compelled the Chinese officials at the start of the year, to take notice on this political divide and urged them to address their differences.