ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Prof Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday eulogised China’s continued support for Pakistan, saying Beijing had been supporting infrastructure development since President Xi Jinping during his visit to Islamabad in 2014 announced investing $46 billion under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

However, for a second day running, the minister castiga­ted the CPEC Authority, saying the entity has not been able to attract any investment ever since its inception three years ago, APP reported. A news report on Wednesday had quoted him as calling for the dissolution of the CPEC Authority.

Talking to journalists on Thursday, he said “not a single dollar has been invested” in the CPEC project after the creation of this authority.

The CPEC Authority was formed in 2019 to ensure uninterrupted progress on its projects and coordination among the departments concerned.

Mr Iqbal claimed that earlier an investment of $29 billion had come into the CPEC project.

“That is why now we are going to adopt the same mechanism which had been followed from 2013 to 2019 so that this project can be implemented in the best possible way.”

He disclosed that China had agreed to bring more investment into the CPEC project.

Earlier, speaking at ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Green Development High Level Policy Dialogue’, organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Mr Iqbal said the CPEC agreement was followed by an investment inflow of $29 billion.

China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong said the focus of Belt and Road Initiative and CPEC was on sustainable initiatives in green infrastructure, green energy, green finance and modern agriculture.

Separately, APP quoted the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson as saying on Thursday that CPEC was an important pilot programme under Belt and Road Initiative and China would continue to work with Pakistan to ensure that the cooperation outcomes were better delivered to the Pakistani people. “It focuses on development and people’s livelihood and has got wide command and recognition from outside,” Wang Wenbin said during his regular briefing.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2022

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