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Foreign forces conspiring against PM to make CPEC controversial: minister

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif says some foreign forces are hatching conspiracy against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for making China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Gwadar Port controversial.

In an interview on Friday, he said Pakistan under the leadership and vision of Nawaz Sharif will also achieve success on economic front.

To a question, the Minister said India is using the soil of Afghanistan for terrorist activities in Pakistan.

He said the enemies of Pakistan want to halt development activities in the country.

He urged the political parties to demonstrate respect for national institutions.

The CPEC, a flagship “Belt and Road” project, has been credited with helping revive Pakistan’s sluggish economy, but investors have raised concerns that Pakistan’s currency could come under severe pressure once debt repayments begin and Chinese firms start taking profits home.

The public and political parties broadly support Chinese investment, while cement and steel companies who bagged early CPEC contracts are embarking on aggressive expansion.

Executives also say Chinese investors are poised for an acquisitions spree in Pakistan.

Nadeem Javaid, who advises Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government and works closely on the CPEC program, told Reuters that such fears are misplaced as Islamabad would earn vast fees from charging vehicles moving goods from and to China.

Javaid said debt repayments and profit repatriation from CPEC projects will begin in 2019, totaling about $1.5-$1.9 billion, and rising to $3-$3.5 billion by the following year.




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