ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday stated that all political parties have assured their support for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The premier said this during the All Parties Conference (APC), which he was chairing in Islamabad.
Various political leaders including PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, JI chief Sirajul Haq, Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah, PPP leader Sherry Rehman, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman were in attendance.
The premier began the meeting by condemning the brutal attack on the Ismaili community in Karachi on May 13 and thanked Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah for his efforts.
"I would like to thank Qaim Ali Shah and law enforcement agencies in Karachi who caught the culprits behind the Safoora attack," Nawaz said.
Talking about the CPEC, Nawaz said that the corridor holds great importance in the history of Pakistan.
The premier reiterated that such investments had not taken place in the past.
“China is Pakistan’s friend,” he said. “China supports Pakistan as a nation without focusing on a particular party,” he added.
The premier said that the country should move forward on national matters with one voice and a united stance.
“This will also send a good message to China that the entire Pakistani nation is committed to the economic corridor project,” he said.
Later on, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal took the podium and went on to justify some 'reservations' that lawmakers had with the corridor.
"Various people are saying that the $46 billion given are being distributed inefficiently," he said.
"Of the $46 billion, $34 billion has been dedicated to energy. The government does not have this money, private companies do. They are working on bankable projects," he added.
Further, he stated that there has been no change in the route of the corridor, adding that it will be complete by the year 2030.
The APC was summoned to take political leadership into confidence over the route of the planned Economic Corridor between Pakistan and China. The project is being dubbed as a ‘fate changer’ not only for Pakistan, but for the entire region.
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The project will oversee construction of three alignments from Gwadar to Kasghar as well as the establishment of energy projects and industrial zones all over the country.
This was the second All Parties Conference on the China-Pakistan economic corridor. Earlier on May 13, an APC was convened by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to evolve consensus on the proposed route of the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, remained inconclusive as participants decided to form a parliamentary committee to oversee the project.
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Ahsan Iqbal gave a comprehensive briefing to the participants about the economic corridor and said it was not confined to a specific route rather it was a concept that encompassed all areas of the country.
The May 13 APC met with heavy criticism from various politicians as they wished for the meeting to be postponed due to the horrific Safoora attack in Karachi that left 45 people of the Ismaili community dead.
The meeting however, went on as planned, but was cut short.