PTI rejects Ahsan Iqbal’s ‘irresponsible’ statement about China, CPEC

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Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal (left) and PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi. — AFP/APP/File
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal (left) and PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi. — AFP/APP/File

  • PTI is committed to taking CPEC forward, says Imran Khan's aide.
  • Qureshi calls Iqbal’s statement “unfortunate and irresponsible”.
  • PTI govt successfully implemented several CPEC projects: ex-FM.  

Strongly reacting to Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal’s statement regarding China and the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — the former ruling party — on Sunday said that the insinuation that "our iron brother would interfere in our domestic affairs is baffling and insulting".

A day earlier, the federal minister accused the former PTI-led government of “harming” the key infrastructure development project and revealed that Beijing had warned the then-establishment against any “new experiment” ahead of the 2018 general elections.

Speaking during Geo News programme Jirga, the PML-N leader said: “China — in a diplomatic manner — had tried to convey [a message] to the then establishment to avoid any new experiment as it would derail CPEC.”

Later, Ahsan Iqbal in a statement on social media said that his statement about China in a TV interview is out of context and needs clarification.

Taking to his Twitter handle, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi called the incumbent minister’s statement “unfortunate and irresponsible”.

Giving details about the CPEC projects completed in the party’s tenure, Qureshi said, “With the PTI, there has always been strong consensus on taking CPEC forward, and under Imran Khan's leadership we successfully implemented the following projects, deepening Pakistan’s commitment to CPEC under the PTI government.”

He added that the Faisalabad Rashakai Industrial zones were made operational, and the Dhabaji Industrial zone was finalised, which is under construction.

The PTI leader, whose government was toppled via a vote of no-confidence in April 2022, said that science, technology and agriculture — three new joint working groups — negotiated and added in phase II of CPEC in their tenure.

“All power plants under construction completed; Power generation projects completed and added transmission project,” he added.

In addition to this, the former foreign minister said that the PTI-led government had constructed several highways.

“Western alignment was finalised, and work accelerated. Gwadar Industrial Zone expanded and made operational,” the PTI leader highlighted the achievements of the former government.

‘Shameful attempt’

Meanwhile, PTI Information Secretary Raoof Hasan said that the PML-N leader’s allegation on Chain about interference in Pakistan’s politics was “shameful”.

The minister’s controversial remark was a shameful example of sacrificing Pakistan's interests for personal and political gain, Hasan added.

He added that the series of harming national interest by leaders having no foresight should be stopped.