ISLAMABAD: Irresponsible statements from different politicians and propaganda by certain elements against the CPEC, which is seen as a gamechanger for Pakistan and the region, is upsetting for China as its embassy in Islamabad had to issue two statements during this week to counter the misinformation being spread about the project.
This is considered exceptional on the part of the Chinese Embassy but appears to be a sincere effort to save the project from unnecessary Informed sources said that in their meeting with Pakistani authorities, Chinese officials expressed their shock over the controversies being created in Pakistan by some politicians and other elements. “What is this happening,” a source quoted a Chinese official as saying, lamenting, “What the enemies of Pakistan aspire, some of us are making it possible for them.”
During the recent days, a new wave of campaign has been unleashed against the project. Most of the voices targeting the project are though coming from KP, even a PPP senior leader ignoring the Chinese Embassy statements on Thursday termed the project China-Punjab Economic Corridor.
“This situation is really shameful,” a key bureaucrat engaged with the project told this correspondent, adding that what is official and final about the multiple routes of the CPEC is available on the government website. However, despite this, it is lamented, baseless propaganda has been unleashed and irresponsible statements are coming from some political figures.
The source said while other countries are showing keenness to become part of the project, some here are hell-bent upon creating doubts and drive back those interested to invest in Pakistan. Chinese Embassy issued two statements in three days this week. The first statement was official one issued on Monday and while the other was made on social media on Wednesday.
On Monday, Chinese Embassy denied a statement attributed to their ambassador regarding non-inclusion of western route into China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and stated that CPEC is for Pakistan as a whole and will bring benefits to all Pakistani people including the people from the western parts.
The China’s Embassy said that it was untrue and misreporting where Chinese Ambassador was quoted as saying in a statement that he had informed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister and KP government that western route doesn't exist in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “This is untrue and misreporting”, it said.
It was the Chinese Embassy that had to remind that the CPEC was an important consensus reached by the Chinese and Pakistani governments and of great significance in enhancing bilateral connectivity, improving people's livelihood and fostering pragmatic economic and trade cooperation.
It added that China and Pakistan had put in place a sound mechanism of communication and coordination on the development of CPEC. On November 12th, 2015, the 5th meeting of Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of CPEC approved the principle of "one corridor with multiple passages", aiming at directly benefiting the socio-economic development of Pakistan, especially the western and north-western regions and providing effective connectivity to Gwadar Port.
Responding to the baseless propaganda, the Embassy added that the Monographic Study of Transport Plan, approved in 5th JCC, clearly mentions that Burhan-D I Khan-Quetta-Sorab section will provide much needed connectivity between major connection points of CPEC and will connect the western areas of Pakistan.
“We are committed to join hands with Pakistan to make continuous headway on the CPEC and deliver benefits to the people at an early date,” the statement concluded.
Only two days later on Wednesday, a senior Chinese Embassy official had to come up with an explanation to rebut propaganda about unfair share being given to Punjab while depriving others. This time Deputy Chief of Mission of Chinese Embassy Zhao Lijian explained the share of four provinces in the $51.5 billion CPEC.
Zhao response, appeared in the newspaper on Thursday, came in response to criticism in the local press and on social media about the western route of CPEC and alleged absence of CPEC benefits to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. It is added that with P in CPEC for Punjab, this is more of a China-Punjab Economic Corridor.
Giving the break-up of CPEC project, Zhao said that the number of projects included: Balochistan 16, KPK 8, Sindh 13 and Punjab 12. Zhao said at least 16 projects under CPEC are related to Balochistan. These include: Khuzdar-Basima Highway (N-30), D I Khan-Quetta Highway (N-50), Hubco Coal Power Plant, Gwadar Power Plant, Gwadar-Nawabshah LNG Terminal and Pipeline, Gwadar Eastbay Expressway, Gwadar New International Airport, Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan, Expansion of multi-purpose terminal including Breakwater & Dredging Wastewater, Treatment Plants for Gwadar city, Gwadar Primary School, Gwadar Hospital Upgradation, Gwadar Technical & Vocational College, Gwadar Eastbay Expressway II, Fresh Water Supply and Gwadar Free Zone.
About Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said at least eight projects under CPEC relate to KP: Joint Feasibility Study for Upgradation of ML1, Establishment of Havelian Dry Port, KKH II (Havelian-Thakot) Upgradation of ML-1, KKH III (Raikot-Thakot), D I Khan-Quetta Highway (N-50), Suki Kinari Hydropower Project and Optical Fiber Cable from Rawalpindi to Khunjrab.
He said that 13 CPEC projects relate to Sindh: Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line, Matiari-Faisalabad Transmission Line, Port Qasim Power Plant, Engro Thar Power Plant & Surface Mine in Block II of Thar Coal Field, Dawood Wind Farm, Jhimpir Wind Farm, Sachal Wind Farm, China-Sunec Wind Farm, Upgradation of ML-1, Thar Coal Block I & Mine Mouth Power Plant,Gwadar-Nawabshah LNG Terminal & Pipeline,Karachi-Lahore Motorway (Sukkur-Multan), Joint Feasibility Study for Upgradation of ML1.
He said only 12 projects under CPEC relate to Punjab and these are: Optical Fiber Cable from Rawalpindi to Khunjrab, Haier & Ruba Economic Zone II, Karachi-Lahore Motorway (Sukkur-Multan), Joint Feasibility Study for Upgradation of ML1, Upgradation of ML-1, Sahiwal Coal-Fired Power Plant, Rahimyar Khan Coal Power Plant, Karot Hydro-Power Plant, Lahore Orange Line Metro Train, Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line, Matiari-Faisalabad Transmission Line, Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur.
China has already invested $14 billion in 30 early-harvest projects to be completed under CPEC, a flagship project of the One Belt One Road initiative launched by Chinese president. Out of the 30 projects, 16 were under construction, a statement quoted Chinese Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Zhao Lijian as saying.
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