CPEC to be completed in phases: Planning Minister

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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal says land is being acquired for the six lane Western route of China Pakistan Economic corridor project on the directions of the Prime Minister.
Responding to the questions of members in Senate on Tuesday, he said the government has provided necessary details to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan governments for the acquisition of the land.
Ahsan Iqbal said the CPEC is a long term project and will be completed in phase manner. He said the work on Islamabad- Dera Ismail Khan motorway shall commence in the first quarter of this year.
The Minister said that initially energy projects are being given preference to meet the power shortages. The project envisages development of infrastructure in Gwadar as well as road connectivity.
On an adjournment motion and call attention notice regarding Saudi-Iran tension, the chair said the advisor may appear before the upper house tomorrow for an in-camera briefing on the matter.
Leader of House Raja Zafarul Haq said the issue is very sensitive and therefore open discussion should not be held on it.
Raja Zafarul Haq said Pakistan is carrying out discussion with both the sides to reduce the tension. He said Pakistan will play positive role on the matter as any negative development in the region will directly affect the country.
Later, the house held discussion on the annual reports of Council of Islamic Ideology.
On the observation of Farhatullah Babar that Council of Islamic Ideology has ceased to exist, Leader of House Raja Zafarul Haq said there is no sine die clause in the constitution which finishes its functions.
Leader of Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan said the CII is part of the constitution and is intact.
Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said the CII is a constitutional body and its role is not legislation but to send recommendations to the parliament to make the laws in accordance with Islam.
Chaudhry Tanveer proposed that Tafseer of Quran should be taught in educational institutions in order to acquaint the youth about the true spirit of Islam.
Others who took part in the debate included: Usman Kakar, Nihal Hashmi, Muhammad Ali Saif, Maulana Attaur Rehman and Talha Mehmoud.
Responding to a calling attention notice, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir said that as per the decision of Economic Coordination Committee, the sugar mills have been allowed to export five hundred thousand tons of sugar in phased manner.
On another calling attention notice regarding the import of various vegetables and fruit from Iran affecting the local farmers of Balochistan, Khurram Dastgir said the government is committed to protect the interests of its farmers and has taken steps in this regard including enhancing duty on import of fruit from the neighboring country.

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