Says some businessmen working on CPEC projects privately expressed the opinion
that fair and free elections were in the best interest of Pakistan to ensure continuity
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal issued a statement on Sunday offering a clarification on his remarks concerning China and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which he said was being taken “out of context”.
“China maintains a policy of non-interference in domestic affairs of other countries,” he stressed in a Tweet.
“Some senior businessmen working on CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] projects privately expressed the opinion that fair and free election was in the best interest of Pakistan to ensure continuity,” he revealed.
The minister also added that “by March/April 2018 it had become abundantly clear and was being openly discussed in international media that [the] establishment of that time did not want PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz] govt to return and was helping PTI to come in power through interference in [the] electoral process.”
Notably, Iqbal had claimed during an interview with a private news channel yesterday that China had warned the powers that be against carrying out any new political experiment in Pakistan ahead of the 2018 general elections as Beijing feared that such an experiment would derail the CPEC project.
“China in a diplomatic manner had tried to convey [a message] to the then establishment to avoid any new experiment,” Iqbal, who belongs to the ruling PML-N, said in a reference to the rise of power of the PTI party in the wake of 2018 polls.
He had also revealed that the then establishment had, however, assured Beijing that the new government would not create obstacles to the mega infrastructure and connectivity project.
The minister stressed the need for the continuation of policies for progress and development.
The PML-N leader accused the former ruling party of trying to make CPEC controversial. He said corruption allegations were leveled against the project and the Western media highlighted the controversial statements made by the PTI leaders.
“[Former minister and PTI leader] Murad Saeed levelled baseless corruption allegations against me in connection with CPEC and embarrassed a state-owned Chinese company.
“Perhaps, it happened for the first time that a state-owned Chinese company issued a condemnation statement against a minister it was working with,” he added.
He said that the PTI-led government ruined the sentiment developed by the PML-N by levelling baseless allegations, delaying the visa renewal of Chinese workers and other tactics.
The PML-N-led government has been blaming the former ruling party for pursuing policies that harmed mega projects and discouraged international investment.