China warned establishment against ‘new experiment’ ahead of 2018 elections: Ahsan Iqbal

Federal Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal addressing a press conference.  — Radio Pakistan/File
Federal Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal addressing a press conference. — Radio Pakistan/File
  • Ahsan Iqbal accused PTI of defaming the Game Changer project.
  • The minister claims that Beijing had asked the ruling establishment not to interfere in the election.
  • He says that China fears that the “experiment of change” will harm the CPEC.

Hitting out at the former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government for scuttling the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Federal Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday revealed that Beijing had The establishment was warned. against any “new experiments” ahead of the 2018 general elections.

speaking during geo news program’ jirgaThe PML-N leader said, “China had tried to convey – diplomatically [a message] The then establishment was told to avoid any new experiment as it would derail CPEC.

However, the then establishment had assured Beijing that whoever comes to power would not create hurdles in the way of the mega infrastructure and connectivity project.

The planning minister said Beijing had asked the ruling establishment not to interfere in the elections as “any experiment of change would not be beneficial to Pakistan and would destroy the CPEC”.

Responding to a question, the minister stressed the need for continuity of policies for the progress and development of the country.

In a fresh attack against the former ruling party, the PML-N minister accused PTI of maligning the game changer project. He said allegations of corruption were leveled against the project and the western media highlighted controversial statements of PTI leaders.

Murad Saeed made baseless corruption allegations related to CPEC and embarrassed the Chinese state-owned company.

Perhaps this is the first time that a Chinese government company has issued a condemnation statement against the minister with whom it was working.

He said the PTI-led government has ruined the spirit developed by the PML-N by making baseless allegations, delaying visa renewal of Chinese workers and other tactics.

It is pertinent to mention here that the PDM-led government has been accusing the former ruling party of adopting negative policies with regard to mega projects and discouraging international investments. They were claiming that work on Chinese-funded projects, especially the CPEC, was stopped during PTI’s tenure.

The current coalition government led by the PML-N has consistently criticized the PTI for not working on the CPEC.

A few days back, while addressing a function to mark the completion of a decade of signing of CPEC, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that this mega project helped Pakistan progress in the region and the world.

He regretted that the previous government created misconceptions about the project as a result of which its implementation was slow.

At that time, the Planning Minister had said that unfortunately the project was scammed by the previous regime and was completely ignored.

Even investors left Pakistan, causing huge losses to the game-changer CPEC project, the minister said, adding that the present government during the last one year made efforts and brought the project back on track.

“For the last one year, we tried our best to bring CPEC on track and gain the confidence of investors,” he said.

The Minister said that post 2018 CPEC was not given due attention and the projects abandoned by the previous sector during the last four years were given priority during the last one year by the present government.

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