Qureshi says that China Pakistan Economic Corridor will be completed at all costs
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has categorically stated that China Pakistan Economic Corridor will be completed at all costs despite impediments being created in its way by certain elements.
He was responding to the points of opposition members in the National Assembly today who raised concerns on the recent attack on a hotel in Gwadar.
Foreign Minister said the enemies of Pakistan who want to stoke instability in the country will be defeated and the country will be put on the path of economic development. Shah Mehmood Qureshi appreciated Pakistan Army for timely responding to the attack on the Gwadar hotel and eliminating the terrorists there.
He said there is complete national consensus on the mega corridor project and the entire nation and the parliament will foil any conspiracy of the enemy against it. He said the completion of CPEC will increase Pakistan’s regional connectivity and open new vista of cooperation with the central Asian states. Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi here on Sunday said some forces wanted to destabilise Pakistan and harm the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project, media reported. “Foes of Pakistan cannot see the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) making progress, offering greater connectivity and commercial activities to the region,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi said while talking to journalists in Multan.
Referring to the Gwadar terrorist attack, he said Pakistan would not blame any country without proper investigation. To a question, the federal minister said the Pakistan Air Force would respond befittingly in case of any misadventure by India. Talking about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement, he said the nation would have to think that why Pakistan had to approach the IMF. “When the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government came into power, it came to know how much Pakistan’s trade deficit was. We had a total difference of Rs19 billion in imports and exports. There was no investment in the country and circumstances were growing worse,” he said. FM Qureshi said the PTI government made efforts to control the situation.
The trade deficit had increased enormously, he added. He said the government was trying to bring as many people in the tax net as possible. “When people will start paying taxes it will reduce the burde n on common men,” he said. The minister said during the era of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) petrol was 27 dollar per barrel. The incumbent government cut GST from 56 percent to 17 percent, he added.
“Temporary stability of rupee resolves the issue for a short period only,” he said referring to the previous government’s tactics to stabilize the PKR. The reason behind delay in talks with the IMF was to soften the terms and conditions, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said. Earlier, An attack on a luxury hotel in Gwadar was an attempt to “sabotage Pakistan’s prosperity”, PM Imran Khan said on Sunday, as authorities confirmed all the attackers had been killed.
Gwadar is the heart of the Chinese backed CPEC Projects and Islamabad see the CPEC project as a vital platform to propel their woeful economy. At least two security guards were killed on Saturday after gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Gwadar – the centrepiece of a multi-billion dollar Chinese infrastructure project.
“Such attempts, especially in Balochistan, are an effort to sabotage our economic projects and prosperity. We shall not allow these agendas to succeed. Pakistani nation and its security forces shall defeat them all,” PM Imran said in a statement issued by his office.
The Chinese embassy in Islamabad also strongly condemned the incident. Local police said four gunmen who had stormed the hotel, shooting dead a security guard, had been killed by security forces. “All four terrorists were killed and security forces had taken complete control of the hotel building,” a local police official in Gwadar told AFP via telephone.
His account was confirmed by a security source in Islamabad. Mohammad Aslam, a police official in Gwadar, told media that only staff were present in the building at the time of the attack. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack. The BLA has targeted Chinese workers in Pakistan multiple times, including during a brazen daylight attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi which killed four people in November last year.
The Pearl Continental, part of Pakistan’s largest five-star hotel chain, is the only luxury hotel in Gwadar, frequented by foreign and Pakistani business delegations as well as diplomats. It sits isolated on a ridge overlooking the Arabian Sea port city that was formerly a small fishing village but now touted by officials as “the next Dubai” thanks to the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Part of China’s Belt and Road initiative, CPEC seeks to connect the western Chinese province of Xinjiang with Gwadar, with the development of the port as the plan’s flagship project. Gwadar will provide China with safer and more direct access to the oil-rich Middle East than the waterway trade route it currently uses through the narrow Malacca Straits. Balochistan is tightly guarded by the military, who have been targeting insurgents there since 2004.— News Desk