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Pakistan refutes that it is rethinking its role in Belt & Road plan

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News Analysis |

The Financial Times story quoting Abdul Razak Dawood, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Adviser on Commerce, Textile, Industry & Production and Investment, stirred a controversy in Pakistan’s political scenery. Opposition parties, particularly PML (N) spurred allegations that PTI’s government had tried to malign the long-term friendship with China by passing such statements.

https://www.ft.com/content/d4a3e7f8-b282-11e8-99ca-68cf89602132

However, government negated the news story by saying that the title and captions were misleading and reaffirmed commitment to CPEC.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1799826/1-pakistan-china-react-angrily-financial-times-report-cpec/

Razzak Dawood in a clarification said that his words were cited out of context by the newspaper. “I run the risk of being misquoted once again if I present one right now,” he said. The opposition parties attacked the government saying that it has been irresponsible and has threatened the Pak-China relationships.

Senior Anchor Person, Dr. Moeed Pirzada argued that Chinese and Pakistani government both needed to review the contracts to expose the wrong-doings of Sharif government.

For past several months, there has been an air of skepticism in Pakistan’s corporate circles in Karachi, and a criticism by national and International media and some silent rumors even in Pakistan Defense Establishment that the contracts that were signed between China and Pakistan were completely nontransparent. There have been no fine prints of those contracts and very high return rates are promised through contracts. Chinese companies have also been certain that return rates as high as 30 % have been guaranteed.

Sources say that there has been a discussion going on behind the closed doors that PTI government needs to impress upon China that some of the contracts have to be reviewed and examined solely for the purpose of transparency. A few weeks ago, Asad Umar, on record had said that he would take those contracts to National Assembly for scrutiny.

Asad Umar’s ‘not so secretive plan’ to revive Pakistan’s economy

Analysts argue that those contracts are neither defense nor nuclear contracts; why have they been kept so secretive. Those are merely business contracts, not of secretive nature and need transparency.

While in an interview to Global Village Space, finance minister Asad Umar clarified that he stood by the agreements that previous government made. The projects would continue as designed. However, the contracts could be reviewed by taking Chinese corporates in confidence, for transparency. He asserted even China had taken an unprecedented stance against corruption and top functionaries and ministers were given death sentence on the charges of corruption.

Read more: Sixty years of Pak-China friendship

Earlier, Mahathir Muhamad has canceled some of the contracts between Malaysia and China. Also, Chinses contracts are being criticized by Myanmar and Sri Lanka. There is no denying that contracts with Chinese companies need reviewing, and the Chinese government does understand that. It is believed that during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, these issues did come up.

The opposition is behaving in a very irresponsible fashion.  No detail of those contracts is being given at any platform whatsoever; which is foul and says a lot about non-transparency of those contracts. It is believed that Only Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar knew what was in those contracts. Even Ahsan Iqbal, who was being poster-boy for all the CPEC contracts, knew nothing while he defended the contracts.

Read more: Government introduces new dimensions to broaden CPEC

If there is a desire in Pakistan’s government that there could possibly be more transparency and they would kick back some commissions in those contracts with China and also with some Middle Eastern companies that Nawaz Sharif’s government signed; by all means, this needs to be opened up and reexamine.

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