Pashtuns deprived of CPEC benefits, merge Fata and KP before 2018 elections: Aftab Sherpao

BE2C2 Report; Jan 7, 2017 — Lawmaker Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said on Saturday that Pashtuns are being deprived of the benefits of the game-changing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Sherpao made these remarks while laying the foundation stone of two small dams in the Mohmand-Charsadda Agency border area.

This is the first time that any political leader has ever visited this tribal area, the Express Tribune has reported.

 

The Chairman of Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) said that equitable treatment of all regions in the country in the $56 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was vital for ensuring the state’s sovereignty.

Expressing concern over unequal treatment in CPEC projects, he said that if equal rights were not guaranteed to all provinces, frustration among other provinces was natural, which would ultimately hurt the federation.

Sherpao wondered if China was using CPEC for developing its underdeveloped regions. “Why does this not hold true for developing Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Fata and Balochistan?” he asked.

Criticizing the federal government’s policy towards Pashtuns, the Pashtun leader said that although the government had announced plans to end power outages all over the country, costly power projects had only been initiated in Punjab.

According to him, Pashtuns would not be able to say goodbye to load-shedding even after 2018 because by then, they would be declared defaulters to deprive them of their rights in the power sector, Sherpao said.

Sherpao also called for holding a transparent census across the country and merger of Fata into KP without any delay, and said that his party QWP had always opposed a boundary between Fata and the province.

According to several analysts, merger of resource-rich Fata and KP on Pakistan’s north and northwestern region would create the largest and probably the most resource-owned (energy, minerals, metals) province in Pakistan.

Sherpao univocally demanded an end to the line dividing Pashtuns between settled and tribal areas saying that FATA and KP should be united before the elections of 2018.

Uniting Pashtuns in Pakistan would usher an era of peace and prosperity in the country, Aftab Sherpao expressed these views while addressing the inauguration ceremony of two small dams in Matta area of District Charsadda in KP province.

Without specifying the Panama Papers, he said that a similar media campaign should be launched to give due rights for underdeveloped regions of the country.

He said that KP is the largest producers of gas and oil in Pakistan. Moreover the area of Pakhtoona is rich in natural resources. But the federal government, under its malicious design, has taken control over these resources due to which people of KP have been deprived of any prospects of development, Sherpao claimed.

Additionally, the federal government is also trying to single out KP from the developmental schemes associated with the CPEC project, Sherpao said.

The QWP Chairman appealed to the Pashtun nation to unite and start a peaceful struggle demanding their due rights and to unite the people of KP and FATA.

The Pashtun leader clarified that it is important to provide all the federating units in Pakistan with their due rights in order to ensure a strong federation.

Sherpao stated that if the federal government limits its developmental agenda to Punjab, and ignores the sacrifices of Pashtun nation, it will have a negative impact on the federation.

(Based on reporting in the Daily Times and the Express Tribune)

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