PPP Senator Rabbani accuses PTI govt of 'trying to weaken CPEC'

Published October 1, 2018
"Was China taken into confidence before bringing Saudi Arabia into CPEC," questions Senator Raza Rabbani. — File
"Was China taken into confidence before bringing Saudi Arabia into CPEC," questions Senator Raza Rabbani. — File

PPP Senator Raza Rabbani on Monday said it looks as if the PTI government was trying to "weaken the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)".

He made these comments during a debate held in the Senate on the incumbent government's performance on the economic front.

"There is news that suggests that the CPEC projects are being reviewed," Rabbani said while questioning if China was taken into confidence before bringing Saudi Arabia into the CPEC.

"If taken in the loop, what did China say about the matter?" he asked.

Last week, the government of Saudi Arabia signed three grant agreements with Pakistan to finance three road infrastructure and energy projects under the CPEC.

“These agreements have been inked in line with the understanding reached during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia,” Information Minis­ter Fawad Chaudhry had said at the time.

National Party Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo, while commenting on the matter, said the federal government does not have the right to hand over projects like Reko Diq to Saudi Arabia, since "these projects fall under the Balochistan government's jurisdiction."

The information minister had also told the media that more agreements would be inked this week when a high-level Saudi delegation visits Pakistan.

The accords will be related to Reko Diq’s gold and copper mines and the oil refinery at Gwadar Port, Chaudhry had said, adding the delegation would comprise the Saudi investment team, minister for petroleum and minister for energy.

"Is there no one in the Balochistan government or the province to take such decisions? Does the government not know about the dispute between Iran [which borders Balochistan] and Saudi Arabia?" he asked.

"You are trying to turn Balochistan into a conflict zone," Bizenjo said while announcing that the until the government explains how these decisions were made, the National Party will hold an hour-long sit-in outside the Senate every day.

According to Rabbani, Finance Minister Asad Umar had said before his election that the government would not go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout, "however, now he [Asad Umer] is saying that if need be the government might go to them."

Oil city will be established in Gwadar, NA told

Minister for Water Resources Khusro Bakhtiar briefed the lawmakers in the National Assembly that the government has decided to broaden the base of the CPEC and accelerate its pace, Radio Pakistan reported.

The minister accused the previous government of not paying due attention to Gwadar and vowed that the PTI government will give proper attention to this significant port.

“An oil city would be established beside this strategic port of the country,” the minister announced.

While criticising the policies of the PML-N government, Bakhtiar said that the current account deficit had reached an alarming figure of $18 billion due to the ill-conceived policies of the previous government.

Moreover, the circular debt has reached a staggering Rs583 billion, the minister said.

The lower house also adopted a resolution to condemn the Indian military attack on a civilian helicopter carrying AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider flying inside the territory of Pakistan.

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