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Planning minister slams “Dawn Leak II” regarding CPEC

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Monday slammed a news article of Dawn newspaper revealing ‘Master Plan’ of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and termed it Dawn Leak II.

The Dawn article reveals intentions of China government and how far it would be controlling different sectors in the country. This is for the first time that the detailed documents regarding the CPEC have been released to the public, claims the story.

Iqbal said, “I am appalled by Dawn Leak II. CPEC Long Term Plan story based on working docs to distort final draft taken up with NDRC yesterday in Beijing.”

He blamed the newspaper for attempting to malign the project by promoting fears and said the story is incorrect.

“CDB (China Development Bank) study referred to as Long Term Plan in Dawn story is factually incorrect. Definite angling in story to malign CPEC by promoting fears,” he said.

As the story says that until yesterday the long term plan was not shared with any other province but Punjab, Iqbal said the plan needed final consultation before making it public.

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“We couldn’t release LTP (Long Term Plan) without final consultation with Chinese side which was done yesterday. In race for breaking news half cooked story,” he said.

The federal minister, who has a major role in the CPEC project, said the local newspaper should have taken version of the government as well to balance the story or to misinforming citizens as a standard journalistic practice.

“Dawn should have taken Ministry of Plng Dev & Ref version as a standard journalistic practice to not misinform citizens thru redundant docs,” he said.

The news article sheds light on three parts of the plan under CPEC which includes ‘thousands of acres of agricultural land will be leased out to China to demonstrate different projects’, ‘massive surveillance system will be installed in cities, and ‘Chinese nationals will be given visa-free entry into Pakistan.

This should be noted that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along chief ministers of four provinces left for China on Friday to attend Belt and Road Forum. The event was participated by 28 heads of states and governments, over 50 leaders of international organizations, over 100 ministerial-level officials and over 1,200 delegates from various countries and regions.

During the PM’s trip, Pakistan and China have signed several Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and agreements related to the CPEC project.




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