Saturday, January 27, 2018

CPEC discovering country’s hidden wealth

Chinese investors not getting special incentives: Ahsan

Zahid Chaudhary


Multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) has started unearthing hidden treasures of the country, stated Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal while speaking in the Senate on Friday.
He said that five billion dollars of investment has been mobilized for exploitation of Thar coal which values more than the cumulative energy reservoirs of Saudi Arabia and Iran but could not be exploited over the last seventy years.
The Minister said that several road infrastructure projects are being executed under the CPEC whilst full ownership has been given to the provinces for the establishment of special economic zones. He said that road shows will also be conducted in China to attract investment in the zones. This phase of zones will be completed from 2020 to 2025. The Minister clarified that the Chinese investors are not being given any special incentives. He said a level playing field will be provided to all the investors including the locals.
Responding to the points of members, Ahsan Iqbal clarified that the loans taken from China for infrastructure development under China Pakistan Economic Corridor project are concessional in nature. He dismissed any irregularity or misappropriation in the CPEC related projects. He said the CPEC projects have been given some exemptions given their nature and dependence on loans.
Meanwhile Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told the house in a written reply that Indian Border Security Forces committed 170 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary (WB) in the first 24 days of 2018. At least 11 civilians lost their lives, whereas 48 others were injured in the recent spurt of LoC violations, Asif said in a written reply submitted to the Upper House on the matter.
In his reply, Asif claimed that there had been a surge in Indian ceasefire violations since international pressure began mounting against New Delhi for its violation of human rights in India-held Kashmir.
Asif also pointed out that anti-Pakistan statements issued by various Indian leaders would not help efforts to create peace in the region, adding that Delhi’s involvement in terrorism in Pakistan is also a reality.
The reply said that Pakistan believes lasting peace between the two countries can be achieved through dialogue, and that the most important issue that must be discussed by Islamabad and New Delhi is that of Kashmir. “Pakistan wants friendly relations with its neighbours but its advances are met with hostility from India,” the foreign minister said in his report. “It is unfortunate that India responds to Pakistan’s friendly moves with hostility.”
Asif recalled Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s participation in the 2015 Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad, saying that despite both parties’ agreement to revive the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue, no such plans had materialised.
“Pakistan wants to improve its relationship with Afghanistan as peace there is in our own better interests,” the reply said

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