News Analysis |
Dr. Mohammad Faisal, spokesperson Foreign Office Pakistan, has categorically rejected the story published in a British Newspaper regarding Pakistan’s intention to review the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “I completely reject any insinuations against CPEC. We have already issued a detailed Press Release and we stand by that,” Dr. Faisal asserted on Thursday. The intention of the newspaper was to make a point as if the present government in Pakistan is interested to review the overall projects and agreements signed with China.
The claims made by the newspaper on the behalf of Pakistani official become even more reliable since the present government is highly critical of the previous PML-N government and its policies. “The previous government did a bad job negotiating with China on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — they did not do their homework correctly and did not negotiate correctly so they gave away a lot,” Abdul Razak Dawood, the adviser to the prime minister on commerce and textile, was quoted as saying by Financial Times, a London-based newspaper, in an interview.
The outright rejection of the statements presented in the interview has clarified the matter that there is no change in the agreements and Pakistan is fully aware of its responsibilities.
A nine-member committee formed by the prime minister will “think through CPEC – its benefits and liabilities”, he added, according to FT. Later on, the commerce ministry issued a public rebuttal to the report. It said the news item was premised on “out of context” statements. Mr. Dawood had declined to give clarification immediately after the publication of the interview on the premise that he would be misquoted once again. He, therefore, preferred to speak through an official channel.
Meanwhile, China’s embassy in Islamabad also took notice of the FT report. “The Chinese Embassy in Islamabad has taken notice of the report in Financial Times regarding remarks by the honorable Adviser Razzak Dawood on the CPEC as well as the clarification issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Textile of Pakistan,” it said. The embassy also maintained that such propaganda was intended to disrupt the smooth relations between Pakistan and China.
“Such ill-intentioned reports based on distorted and misquoted information only demonstrate that the report contributor has total ignorance and neglect of the CPEC or China-Pakistan traditional partnership,” it added. The interview was published under the headline Pakistan rethinks its role in Xi’s Belt and Road plan which ignored the facts and context in which the adviser was making a point. This distortion of facts demonstrates two very important points.
The first one is that how media plays its role in manipulating or shaping public opinion and mass psychology even sometimes based upon ill-conceived evidence. The second point is the confirmation of the stance of authorities in Pakistan. The CPEC is under threat from all across the world, maintain Pakistani security agencies. This claim becomes more serious and important after the publication of a distorted interview.
The outright rejection of the statements presented in the interview has clarified the matter that there is no change in the agreements and Pakistan is fully aware of its responsibilities. Moreover, Pakistani officials including the PM always need to be careful whenever commenting on any agreement or relations with any other states; in the age of globalization, the media has a crucial role to play while making and breaking public opinion for or against any development.