ISLAMABAD: Political parties on Thursday hammered out a consensus on the route of Pak-China Economic Corridor during an All Parties Conference chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The APC agreed that the western route of the corridor would be completed first, which would be built from Hasan Abdal to Gwadar, passing through Mianwali, Dera Ismail Khan and Zohb.
The prime minister told the meeting that a parliamentary committee would be formed to monitor the project while working groups would also be formed to address the concerns of all the provinces.
The prime minister said China had provided a unique opportunity in the form of economic corridor.
During the meeting, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said no new road would be built as part of the project instead different roads would be connected to link them with Khunjrab.
He dispelled the notion about a change in the original route of the Pak-China Economic Corridor.
The minister told the participants of the APC that the Pak-China corridor was not only the name of a road rather it was a portfolio consisted of different projects, including infrastructure, energy, Gwadar port and industrial cooperation.
This was the second APC to be called on the CPEC project. The first APC took place on May 13. The conference has been called to build consensus among political parties and remove any concerns they have regarding the mega project.
"I hope this becomes a tradition that even in the future we sit together to bring about consensus to move forward on national issues," said Sharif in his opening address to the attendants of the meeting.
The prime minister said that leaders had the right to bring forward their concerns regarding the project, which would be addressed by the government.
He said that China was a friend of Pakistan and that it does not care which party is currently in the government.
The premier said that Pakistan was committed to the project, which hold great importance for the uplift and development of the country’s economy.
The APC was being attended by representatives from the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and others.
Several political parties including the PTI, MQM, ANP and JUI-F had raised reservations and key questions during the last APC over the CPEC, including the route being adopted for the trade corridor that would connect Gwadar port on the Arabian to Khunjerab, opening up economic opportunities for areas which the China-Pakistan road link passes trough.
The last APC on May 13 had ended inconclusive as leaders including the prime minister had to rush to Karachi after a deadly terrorist attack in the port city claimed the lives 45 members of the minority Ismaili community.