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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development, and Interior Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday said all the four provinces, the federal government, Azad Jammu and Kashmir , Gilgit Baltistan, and FATA are on the same page regarding timely completion of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
“CPEC belongs to entire Pakistan and not to any specific part of the country and all of its units are satisfied with current progress of the mega project and their share in CPEC projects”, Ahsan Iqbal said while addressing media after reviewing the preparation for upcoming 7th Joint Coordination Committee on CPEC. He said CPEC is helping to connect far flung areas of the country due to heavy investment in infrastructure sector.
The meeting was chaired by Ahsan Iqbal and attended by Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervaiz Khattak, Governor KP, Zafar Iqbal Jhagra, Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider, Secretary Planning, Shoaib Siddiqui and representatives of governments of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan.
The JCC is the apex decision-making forum on the CPEC which is jointly chaired by the planning and development minister and the vice chairman of National Development and Reform Commission of China.
Mr. Iqbal said the 7th JCC on CPEC is scheduled to be held here on November 20 and 21 in which chief ministers of all provinces, representatives of private sector, and representatives from China would participate.
He added that representatives from private sector investment and business community are being specially invited in the meeting as the government wants to engage the private sector and business community in materializing the phase of Industrial Cooperation under CPEC.
The minister highlighted that billions of dollars have already been invested in energy and infrastructure projects which are now bearing fruits and are helping in overcoming energy crisis and up gradation of the infrastructure sector.
While in the second phase, special focus would be given on building industrial sector under CPEC and approval would be given for construction of all nine Spedcial Economic Zones in various parts of the country.
He said a fibre optic cable is being laid from Khunjrab to Islamabad which will help fast technological development in Gilgit Baltistan. Chief Minister KP said he is quite satisfied with the progress of National Highway Authority in the province and hoped that all projects under CPEC would be completed on time.
Khattak also commended the federal government’s efforts in bringing the Chitral-Chakdara road project under CPEC.
On the occasion Prime Minister AJK thanked former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for including projects of AJK in CPEC. He said due to these projects, AJK is witnessing rapid socio-economic development.
While representing FATA, Governor KP Zafar Iqbal Jhagra said all stakeholders are on same page regarding the multi-billion dollars mega project of CPEC.
He said feasibility today report for construction of special economic zone in FATA is submitted to Board of Investment for approval and hoped that construction work on the zone would start soon.
Replying to a question, Ahsan Iqbal said issues of Karachi Circular Railway and Main Line-1 would be removed soon and work on KCR would be initiated on time. Replying to another query regarding the ongoing sit in by some religious groups in the city, Iqbal said no Mulsim can compromise on the finality of Prophethood (Khatm-e-Nabuwat) and the entire nation is united in this regard and it will not be appropriate to create division among the nation.
He said making the lives of patients, students and the general public miserable, is not love for the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
“Even, the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) tell us to respect the rights of every human being,” he added.
The minister said the Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLR) and their leaders are constitutionally allowed to register a peaceful protest and warned them not to take the law into their hands. He said the government is making efforts to avoid violence and is also aware of the inconvenience that is being caused to the general public.
He said some elements from among the protestors are deliberately inviting the law enforcement agencies to take violent action against them as they want dead bodies to play dirty politics.
However, the government is trying hard to resolve the issue peacefully to avoid any violence in the city, he said, adding the use of force against protestors would be government’s last option in case all other options are failed.