In a major development, China has rejected the rumors that progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor slowed down during the tenure of the previous government which was led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his party PTI.
China’s consul general in Karachi, Li Bijian, while talking to a private media channel, ruled out reports claiming that work on the CPEC, a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), had slowed down over the past three and a half years. Li Bijian clarified that CPEC slowed down due to the pandemic and security issues instead.
“The work was slowed down due to Covid-19 pandemic and security issues. So-called claims that work paused due to the previous government policies are baseless”.
Read more: CPEC energy deals proving costly for Pakistan?
To clarify, the pandemic in 2020 had brought the world to a standstill. Businesses had suffered immensely all over. Pakistan also went into lockdown. Apart from the pandemic, Chinese nationals in Pakistan have been subjected to terror attacks.
عمران خان کی سابقہ حکومت نے سی پیک منصوبوں پر نہ صرف فوکس کیا بلکہ اس کو فروغ دینے کی بھی کوشش کی: چینی قونصل جنرل #CPEC #Pakistan #China pic.twitter.com/hEUzuWeIcb
— Urdu News (@UrduNewsCom) August 24, 2022
On the other hand, Li Bijian expressed satisfaction with the security measures taken by Pakistani authorities.
“There were some security issues regarding Chinese officials in two provinces of Pakistan but we are satisfied with the measures taken by the federal and provincial government after recent incidents,” the Chinese diplomat noted.
Moreover, Li Bijian also rejected that there were any disagreements between the governments of China and Pakistan.
“China and Pakistan have always shared mutual trust, mutual understanding, and mutual support, and are all-weather friends,” Li Bijan said.
Important to note that PML-N has often criticized PTI’s policies which apparently slowed down Pakistan’s economic prosperity, for instance, incumbent Minister for Development and PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said that the previous government of PTI failed to complete projects under CPEC.
“Imran Khan’s government has put an irreversible loss to CPEC that is the project of national interest,” he had said.
Similarly, PML-N leader and Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb also accused former premier Imran Khan of sabotaging Pakistan’s economy by attempting to halt CPEC.
Read more: PM agrees to disband the CPEC Authority