PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Tuesday adjourned hearing into a petition after the federal government submitted a reply to the petition of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar seeking the court’s multiple orders for the development of the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor along with several other related development projects in the province.
Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Ijaz Anwar Khan was informed by additional attorney general Manzoor Khalil that a written reply on behalf of the planning and reforms ministry had been submitted covering all the issues raised by the petitioner.
Lawyer for the petitioner, Qazi Mohammad Anwar, requested the court to give him time to examine the reply.
He added that if the grievances raised by the petitioner were addressed by the federal government, then the court could dispose of the petition.
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The bench fixed Nov 23 for next hearing, observing that the petitioner’s counsel should go through the written reply and inform the court if he had any objection to it.
During previous hearing on Sep 26 the court had directed the federal government to verify in writing the claim made by the KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak that several of the developmental projects including developing different trade routes in the province had been included by the federal government in the CPEC project.
Following the filing of the petition last year, KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had claimed in Dec 2016 and Jan 2017 that several of the projects, which they had demanded, had been included in the CPEC project.
Speaker Asad Qaisar claimed that he was the custodian of the Assembly, which represented the collective will of the people of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and was therefore duty bound to follow unanimous resolutions passed by the assembly regarding the CPEC project.
He claimed that there were five unanimous resolutions passed by the KP Assembly requesting the federal government to develop the western route of the CPEC along with all other development components.
The petitioner has prayed the court to issue directions /appropriate orders to the respondents to honor the commitments of the Prime Minister made on May 28, 2015, in the APC meeting on CPEC and allocate funds and commence the development projects on the Western Route of CPEC.
The petitioner requests 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 would in no way be allowed to be usurped by the western route.
Earlier in April, the federal planning and reforms ministry has requested the court to dismiss the petition saying both the eastern and western routes of the corridor would be developed in the short-term planned period.
In his comments filed on the case in the high court, the federal secretary for the planning, reforms and development ministry had stated that the resolutions passed by the KP Assembly regarding the CPEC were not binding on the government but the concerns of the KP government were duly considered.
Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2017