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Pakistan Committed to CPEC: Foreign Office

by Newsweek Pakistan
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Courtesy Pakistan Foreign Office

Spokesman says Islamabad will not be used as a tool in ongoing trade dispute between China, U.S.

Pakistan is committed to the projects taken up under the head of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and will not derail them at any cost, Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Mohammad Faisal said on Sunday.

Talking to a private TV channel about a statement by U.S. diplomat Alice Wells in which she warned that CPEC would profit Beijing at the expense of Islamabad and would push Pakistan into greater debt, Faisal said Islamabad would resist getting drawn into an ongoing trade dispute between China and the U.S. “The entire nation [of Pakistan] will contribute to the development of CPEC,” he said, adding the infrastructure projects would aid in the prosperity of the entire South Asian region.

CPEC, added the Foreign Office spokesman, would serve as an engine for “generating employment, alleviation of poverty and betterment of economy.”

During the interview, Faisal also slammed India for creating hurdles in the functioning of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The eight-member body, comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, was supposed to meet in Islamabad in 2016 but was unable to do so because New Delhi spearheaded a boycott movement. The next summit is due for the coming year. “Without the cooperation and interest of India, the objectives of SAARC cannot be achieved,” said Faisal.

The spokesman said nearly 1.6 billion people were living in the South Asian region, with mass poverty a common thread that requires collaboration to secure a fix. “India should take an interest in revitalizing the SAARC summit so that issues of the region can be addressed in a proper manner,” he added.

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