PESHAWAR: Technical expert on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Dr Said Alam Mehsud was expelled from a seminar on the megaproject held at Islamia College University on Thursday.
He was not allowed to deliver his speech titled ‘CPEC: Myth and Reality’ organised by varsity on Thursday.
“I was invited by ICU’s administration to give a presentation on CPEC project,” he told journalists. “However, I was later expelled from the hall at the behest of Federal Minister for Planning, National Reforms and Development Ahsan Iqbal who was the chief guest on the occasion.”
He said the ICU vice chancellor was not to be blamed since the order came directly from Iqbal who could not bear to hear the reality regarding the mega project.
However, Iqbal in his speech denied the allegations, saying he had not asked anyone to disallow Alam from sharing his views. He added he was willing to answer every question people had regarding CPEC and was ready to clarify all misperceptions.
Iqbal said all provinces would benefit from CPEC and if anyone could prove building the western route was a deviation from the project’s original documents, he would resign from his post.
The minister said no change has been brought to the decided route of CPEC and since the federal government has planned 2020-25 vision for the project after consulting all provinces, no one province will have to compromise its right.
“Without the involvement of K-P and Balochistan, the success of CPEC was impossible and the name of the project was China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and not China-Punjab Economic Corridor,” he said.
He added $11.3 billion will be invested in Sindh, $9.1billion in Balochistan and a similar figure in K-P.
Addressing participants at the seminar, Iqbal explained some people did not want development in the county and were creating hurdles for the implementation of the mega project.
He said the $46billion project was the real game changer for the economic development of Pakistan.
“It has been borne from the combined efforts of two countries and will boost progress in Pakistan.”
Iqbal said while Pakistan and China were friends, the former ranked number 16 in the list of countries which had invested in China in the past. “In 2016, Pakistan became the top country in the world to invest in China,” he said.
Iqbal said the megaproject has two schemes – shorter ones will be completed by 2020 while the larger schemes will be completed by 2030 in phases.
He said that in first phase, focus will be on the energy sector since a large number of industries were not functioning due to lack of electricity.
Clarifying the fact that metro bus project and orange line were not part of CPEC, Iqbal said Punjab government has borrowed money from the Chinese government for the project which will be reimbursed till 2030.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2016.