Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Monday slammed a Dawn article revealing what it claimed to be the “original plan of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)”.
Claiming the documents have been released to the public for the first time, the English-language daily said the plan revealed “what Chinese intentions and priorities are in Pakistan for the next decade and a half, details that have not been discussed in public thus far.”
Iqbal, who plays a central role in CPEC, slammed the article as “Dawn Leaks II.” “I am appalled by Dawn Leak II. CPEC long-term plan story based on working documents to distort final draft taken up with NDRC yesterday in Beijing,” the planning minister said.
He further stated that Dawn had not approached him or his ministry for fact-checking. “Definite angling in story to malign CPEC by promoting fears,” he added.
Iqbal further mentioned that the long-term plan could not have been disclosed by Pakistani government without consulting the Chinese. He called the Dawn story “half cooked” in a race to break the news first.
Pakistan signed new deals with China on Saturday worth nearly $500 million ahead of Beijing’s international forum on its “Silk Road” trade and infrastructure initiative for Asia, Africa and Europe, the Pakistani government said. The memorandums of understanding add to $57 billion already pledged for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a network of rail, road and energy infrastructure that is part of the wider Chinese project also known as the Belt and Road initiative, or One Belt, One Road. The deals came as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of the Beijing summit expected to be attended by leaders from at least 29 countries to promote Xi’s vision of expanding trade links.