May 27, 2024 22:03 (IST)
Follow us:
facebook-white sharing button
twitter-white sharing button
instagram-white sharing button
youtube-white sharing button
Bibhav Kumar's bail, if granted, will be a death threat for me and my family: Swati Maliwal to Delhi HC | Now we don't trust Gujarat govt: High Court raps State and local body over Rajkot gaming zone fire incident | Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal requests Supreme Court to extend his interim relief by 7 days in liquor policy case | Cyclone Remal leaves trail of destruction in West Bengal, claims 2 lives, downpour continues | 'Man-made disaster': Gujarat High Court takes suo motu cognizance of Rajkot gaming zone fire that killed 27 people
Proposed Gandhara Corridor Bill pits Islamabad against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, experts call it attempt to capture resources
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Proposed Gandhara Corridor Bill pits Islamabad against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, experts call it attempt to capture resources

| @indiablooms | 21 Apr 2024, 10:46 pm

Experts believe that the introduction of the “Gandhara Corridor Bill 2024” in the Pakistani National Assembly might be an attempt by the government to capture the resources of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Ninety per cent of the Gandhara sites in the country are located in KP.

The Pakistani region is known for its natural and historic resources, hydroelectric power, mines and minerals, and tourism.

All these elements play a crucial role in generating income for the province.

"Though KP has repeatedly been urging the centre to release its royalty on net hydel profit and natural gas royalty, amounting to billions in unpaid dues, the latest assault on its resources comes from the aforementioned bill set to be tabled in the National Assembly," wrote Peshawar-based tourism expert Ali Jan in his article published in Dawn News titled 'Gandhara Corridor Bill bid to seize KP’s resources'.

The bill has been crafted to appropriate remnants of KP’s Gandhara Civilisation and divert the profits from KP’s Buddhist religious tourism to the centre.

The proponent of the bill is Sindh MNA Ramesh Kumar Vankwani.

He had previously made a similar attempt that was rejected by the Senate Standing Committee on National Heritage and Culture.

The Standing Committee, last year, had rejected the Gandhara Cultural Authority Act, 2023, which was introduced by him.

Questioning his role, Jan said: "Now, he has reintroduced a similar bill, this time with the deceptive name of “Gandhara Corridor Bill, 2024.” Evidently, he is positioning himself for its chairman’s slot. Is he merely a front man acting at the behest of behind-the-scenes planners? This is the question on everyone’s mind in KP."

Jan said: "Constitutionally, this controversial bill violates the 18th Constitutional Amendment as the subject pertaining to the affairs of ‘Ancient and Historic Monuments, Archaeological Sites, and Remains’ was transferred to respective provinces after the abolition of the concurrent list."

Jan said the legislation directly encroaches upon the institutes in the province and existing laws that govern Gandharan sites in KP.

"The proposed bill outlines the acquisition of property, both movable and immovable, containing Gandharan remains in the possession of KP. Financial earnings from KP’s sites, as well as grants and donor funding, are mandated to be deposited into the Gandhara Corridor Account, according to the proposed legislation," Jan wrote.

Jan claimed the  Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) was even bypassed and not consulted over the proposed law.

"By establishing a parallel organisation within the federal government, this bill, after enactment, shall render the PTDC’s role useless, stifling its existence," he said.

Jan said efforts should be made to open a religious tourism facilitation centre inside the PTDC for international tourists coming to Pakistan.

He said: "Assisting them with NOCs will help market Pakistan as a destination for religious tourism internationally more effectively."

Meanwhile, Ramesh Kumar Vankwani has urged Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ali Amin Gandapur to join hands for transforming Gandhara as an international role model for faith tourism with the active collaboration of Federal and all provincial stakeholders.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister in response to criticism of the newly introduced bill in the National Assembly for establishing the Gandhara Corridor to connect Pakistan with the Buddhist world, Dr Vankwani clarified that the bill is not at all a part of any conspiracy to snatch or take over the Gandhara Civilization remains in KP, emphasizing that “It is, in fact, to ensure that the provinces receive due facilitation and support from the federal government to promote and market Gandhara for increasing revenue through systematic arrival of international pilgrims via the federal capital Islamabad", reported Pakistan Observer.

He urged that the bill was an attempt at exploring opportunities for strengthening Pakistan’s economy as well as projecting a positive image of the country, as establishing a high-level facilitation center at the federal level to promote Gandhara faith pilgrimage with the collaboration of provinces would not violate the 18th Amendment which ensures provincial autonomy.

Support Our Journalism

We cannot do without you.. your contribution supports unbiased journalism

IBNS is not driven by any ism- not wokeism, not racism, not skewed secularism, not hyper right-wing or left liberal ideals, nor by any hardline religious beliefs or hyper nationalism. We want to serve you good old objective news, as they are. We do not judge or preach. We let people decide for themselves. We only try to present factual and well-sourced news.

Support objective journalism for a small contribution.