PTI takes its row with centre over CPEC route to court
PESHAWAR: The wrangling between federal government and different political parties over the issue of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is turning into a legal battle as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar is set to file a writ petition in Peshawar High Court on Monday for development of the western route at par with the eastern route of the corridor. The petition will be filed in accordance with the decision taken in a meeting of parliamentary parties’ heads in the provincial assembly on Oct 27. The said meeting was chaired by the speaker. Except PML-N, leaders of other parties had agreed in the meeting to move high court for getting “due right” of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the CPEC project.
“Speaker Asad Qaisar, Adviser to Chief Minister on Information Mushtaq Ghani, and parliamentary leaders of other political parties will visit the high court on Monday to file the writ petition,” Tariq Khan, public relations officer of speaker, confirmed to mediapersons.
KP Assembly speaker will move Peshawar High Court today
An official said that the petition was drafted by senior advocate Qazi Mohammad Anwer.The respondents in the petition will be: Federation of Pakistan through principal secretary to President of Pakistan; prime minister through his principal secretary: planning development and reforms division through secretary planning; federal communication secretary; chairman of National Highway Authority; Pakistan Railways through secretary railways; and federal finance secretary.An official said that the draft of the petition included the history of CPEC and related developments including a commitment made by the prime minister in an All-Party Conference about developing the western route first.The petitioner will be seeking multiple directives from the court for the federal government. It will pray the court that directions/appropriate orders should be issued to the respondents to honour the commitments of the prime minister made on May 28, 2015, in the APC meeting on CPEC and allocate funds and commence development projects on the western route of the corridor.The petitioner will request the court to direct the respondents to make an unqualified commitment that the western route shall receive the same quantum of funds, which are being spent on the eastern route and that the share and development of western route shall in no way be allowed to be usurped by western route.
Furthermore, the petitioner will pray the court to direct the respondents to provide funds for establishment of eight industrial parks under CPEC as per decision taken on Feb 15, 2016, at Battagram, Mansehra, Captain Karnal Sher Khan Interchange on Motorway M 1, Malakand, Chakdara Interchange, Swat, Bannu (on Indus Highway) and Dera Ismail Khan.
It will pray the court to direct the respondents to ensure and provide electricity, gas, telephone lines, fiber optics, railway lines and all other relevant services to the industrial parks and include the industrial parks in economic, transport and social sector policy and also establish IT development programmes at the sites.
The petitioner will also request the high court to issue directions to complete the feasibility and start work on circular railway line from Peshawar to Nowshera, Mardan, Charsadda and back to Peshawar; western railway track from Dera Ismail Khan to Peshawar; motorway from Dera Ismail Khan to Peshawar; and motorway from Karak to Taxila via Kohat-Jhand.
In the draft of the petition several other prayers have also been mentioned.
The speaker claims that he is custodian of the assembly, which represents the collective will of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and is therefore duty bound to follow unanimous resolutions passed by the assembly.
He claims that CPEC has four major components including highways/motorways, railways, industrial zones, water storage and power generation.
In the draft petition, he says when CPEC was announced in April 2015, the provincial assembly had passed two resolutions, welcoming the agreement and urging federal government to give due share of development to the western route.
He says that the prime minister had chaired an APC in Islamabad on May 28, 2015, and announced that the western route would be the route