General

Did PTI ask China before inviting S. Arabia into CPEC, asks Raza Rabbani

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.”