Islamabad, 10 July, 2023 (GNP): Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Sunday gave a clarification regarding his statement that China issued a warning to Pakistan’s establishment ahead of the 2018 elections and said that they were taken “out of context.”
He stated, “China maintains a policy of non-interference in domestic affairs of other countries,” before his departure for China mainly to attend the Special Commemorative 12th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting of the CPEC scheduled to be held on Tuesday (today) in Beijing.
The planning minister is leading the delegation of Pakistan to China, as the two countries celebrate a 10-year achievement related to the CPEC project.
“Some senior businessmen working on CPEC projects privately expressed the opinion that fair and free election was in the best interest of Pakistan,” Iqbal said.
He further said, “By March/April 2018, it had become abundantly clear and was being openly discussed in international media that [the] establishment of that time did not want the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) government to return and was helping the PTI to come to power through interference in [the] electoral process.”
However, the federal minister made a big revelation during an interview on Saturday that, China warned those in power to avoid conducting any new political experiment in Pakistan before the 2018 general elections, out of concern that it might jeopardize the CPEC project.
My statement about China in a TV interview is out of context which needs clarification. China maintains a policy of non interference in domestic affairs of other countries. Some senior businessmen working on CPEC projects privately expressed the opinion that fair and free…
— Ahsan Iqbal (@betterpakistan) July 9, 2023
“China in a diplomatic manner had tried to convey [a message] to the then establishment to avoid any new experiment,” Iqbal said in a reference to the rise of power of the PTI in the wake of the 2018 polls.
Moreover, Iqbal said that the then establishment assured Beijing that the new government would not create any hurdles in the execution of the CPEC project.
Furthermore, the minister urged the need for the continuation of policies for progress and development.
Also, he blamed the former ruling party specifically for making CPEC controversial and stated that the allegations of corruption were labeled against the multi-billion-dollar project and unfortunately the Western media emphasized the controversial statements made by the PTI leaders.