The Senate Standing Committee on Communication noted on Friday that the government is ignoring the parliamentary panel’s recommendations, saying the government is giving priority to other routes instead of western route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
The committee which met here with Senator Mehmood Khan Achakzai in the chair said that the recommendations made by the committee are being considered but the government officials are bent upon implementing the dictation from power corridors.
“The recommendations which we, the elected representatives of people, made after intense deliberations in standing committees, carry no weight in front of the government officials as they are always there to please their bosses who matter for them,” lamented Achakzai. Achakzai had also taken up the issue of government officials’ behaviour on the floor of the House, saying they do not even bother to come to the committee meetings, which shows how seriously they take the standing committees’ directives.
He said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had told an All Parties’ Conference that western route of CPEC would be given top priority, but his announcement and commitment proved to be mere political statement as nothing is being done on ground in this regard.
He said that on papers, the western route is scheduled to be completed by 2020, but the progress on the route speaks otherwise, adding the committee constituted by the Prime Minister to acquire land in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had not held a single meeting.
“The announcement by the Prime Minister has proved to be a political statement and if this remains the attitude, it will not only damage the provincial harmony but will also weaken the federation which could be disastrous for the teething democracy,” he warned.
Achakzai said that the work on acquiring land from Zhob to Suhra is going at a snail’ pace, and there is a need to keep a check on this as slow pace of work, especially in smaller provinces, is not acceptable and it should be expedited.
He also directed the National Highway Authority (NHA) to turn up in the next meeting of the committee along with all the details of the repair work and other expenditures as well as the record of toll plazas for the year 2015-16.
He also took notice of the damages done to highways in Balochistan in the aftermath of recent heavy rains and snowfall. He also directed the NHA to immediately start repair of the highways damaged due to heavy rains and snow.
Chairman NHA Shahid Ashraf Tarar, who happens to be the relative of state minister for health ministry, told the panel that under-construction Dera Ismail Khan to Zhob route will be completed soon.
“The first phase of the project has been approved; funds have also been released and the feasibility study from Zhob to Quetta is under way and the financing for Khuzdar-Quetta-Chaman route will be done by Asian Development Bank (ADB),” he added.