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Saudi Arabia invited to become third partner in CPEC: Fawad Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia is the first country which has been invited to be part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as the third partner in the mega project.

This was stated by Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry during a press conference to brief on Prime Minister Imran Khan visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Chaudhry said that visit was successful and PM Imran was given a cordial welcome in Jeddah where he met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

“Saudi Arabia is the first country which has been invited to part of CPEC. Pakistan will include Saudi Arabia as the third partner,” he said.

He said that Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner in CPEC, and the Saudi leadership has been assured that Pakistan will support them in all times.

The federal minister said that a high-level consultation committee had been formed on the directives of the Saudi King. Furthermore, the Saudi Foreign, Energy and Commerce ministers will visit Pakistan in October.

He further said that the visit paved the way for increased cooperation and Pakistan will witness heavy Saudi investments and there would also be cooperation in security-related matters.

The minister also briefed on PM Imran visit to UAE where he was welcome by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and discussed the problems faced by Pakistanis and several other issues.

‘Nawaz will be sent back’

Regarding the release of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the information minister said he would make frequent visits to prison, and this was the reason that he was placed on the Exit Control List.

Appreciating that PML-N workers respected the court’s verdict, he said that it was hypocritical to accept the decision when it is in their favour and criticise when against them.

“We don’t have an personal enmity with Nawaz Sharif. The nation’s wealth has been looted and there will be accountability,” he said.

He said that Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Safdar will not be allowed to leave the country, while Hussain and Hassan Nawaz along with Ishaq Dar will not be allowed to stay abroad and efforts will be made to bring them back.

He said that the government will focus to bring back the looted wealth stashed abroad and an agreement has been signed with United Kingdom on stolen assets and suspects in this regard.

“Nawaz Sharif will be sent back to same place where he was a few days ago,” he said.

He further said that NAB was an independent organisation, but it was necessary to see if there was any weak prosecution in the case of Nawaz Sharif and how it could be improved by bring reforms.

“This is a movement worldwide against corruption. Even Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman is fighting a war against corruption. He cannot ask to give relief a corrupt person,” he said.

He said that Nawaz Sharif was freed by the courts, and the weakness and loopholes leading to the release will be removed. He said a task force has been formed on NAB reforms and counter-terrorism headed by Law Minister Farogh Naseem.

“This is no deal everywhere. Imran Khan is not a person to make such deals,” he said, adding that Nawaz Sharif was not longer relevant and Saudis would not broker a deal for him.

He said that Avenfield reference case was straightforward relating to assets beyond known means of income and the Sharif family had failed to prove it. He said that no country has also spoken in favour of Nawaz Sharif.

Citizenship to refugees, PM House’s car auction

Regarding the state of government buildings and heritages, the minister said that they were being utilised and not sold, and that funds were required to remove the problems faced by the country.

He also criticised PPP leader Nafisa Shah for opposing the conversion the PM House into a university. “They speak about the poor but are really worried to see them in the Governor House,”he said.

Regarding the pictures snapped inside the Adiala Jail, he hoped that Punjab Chief Minister would take action against it as even Hanif Abbasi was even seen there.

He said that 61 cars of the PM House were sold for 20 crores rupees, while 33 expensive cars will be auctioned next week and are expected to fetch 98 crores rupees. Two cars were sold for sixteen and eighteen crores rupees each.

He also lashed at those opposing the announcement to grant citizenship to Bengali and Afghan refugees. “PPP should decide if it is a liberal or ethic party. Religion should not be red zone in the country. We have to erase the barriers between the people and the government,” he said.

“Afghan Pakhtuns not looking towards Kabul for solution”

He further said there will be no covert deals or agreements signed with any country, and it was delighting that a positive response was also being received from India.

“Policies should be made not for votes but for the future of the nation,” he said, adding that the statement of the PM was being made controversial unnecessarily.

He said that the government wanted to bring them in the national mainstream and the opposition should suggest policies against refugees.

He said that Imran Khan has always spoken about dialogue with Afghanistan. “The Pakhtuns in Afghanistan are not looking toward Kabul for a solution. If there will be peace, then two large markets, India and China, will be near to us.”

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