PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan saying by questioning the transparency of the motorways built by his party under the CPEC, the premier was either accusing China or organisations under the Pakistan armed forces of corruption and embezzlement.
“[PM] Imran had a strategy of coming up with these accusations as a diversion from how badly he was demolishing Pakistan’s economy and crushing the people [under inflation],” the PML-N leader said while addressing a news conference in Islamabad.
“This reflects Imran’s ‘sick mentality’ that he did not even think before defiling the image and reputation of Pakistan Army’s subsidiaries like FWO and NLC,” he added.
“These allegations” by Imran also tainted [the image of] Pakistan’s strongest friend and most trusted ally China, which is a dangerous act clearly against the national interest.”
The PML-N leader maintained that different roads had different costs based on their specifications and engineering designs according to the land and topographical requirements.
He observed that the Chinese ambassador had tweeted praise for the Havelian-Thakot project as a model of engineering expertise, which had received an international award, while the PTI government was alleging corruption in the same project.
Iqbal challenged the premier to write to the Chinese p¬resident to initiate an inquiry about the Multan-Sukkur Motorway over which the PTI ministers alleged Rs50-70 billion kickbacks.
He reminded PM Imran that the JIT over these allegations was still pending.
“Imran must answer which projects are a victim of corruption because Multan-Sukkur Motorway, Havelian-Thakot and East Bay in Gwadar are all directly invested by China and have nothing to do with the government of Pakistan.”
Iqbal censured the PTI government for asking China to renegotiate the financial deal for the energy projects during the recent JCC meetings.
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“Why should the foreign investors take the brunt for the incompetence and incapacity of the unqualified PTI government,” he questioned.
He slammed the premier for calling CPEC projects a “burden on Pakistan’s economy” and installing “excess capacity of electricity”.
He noted that the power capacity was installed keeping in consideration the 5.8% growth rate and said had that growth continued under the PTI the capacity would not have been enough.
“Because Imran crashed Pakistan’s economy to negative growth, the demand for electricity was suppressed.”
Iqbal reminded that Jaglot-Skardu, Jakhat-Challas, Rurbat-Hoshab, Hoshab-Sohrab highways, M2 Lahore-Islamabad, Lahore-Sialkot Motorway, Karachi, Sehwan-Rattu Dero and Thaliyan Link Road were built by Pakistan Army’s FWO.
Taking a dig at the premier, Iqbal asked him to tell the nation “how much money did FWO make through corruption by over-invoicing the projects”.
He also refuted PM Imran’s statement that Matiari-Lahore transmission line was delayed by the PML-N since 2013 pointing out that its agreement was signed in May 2018 and date of commissioning was set for September 2021.
“Imran should read about things before opening his mouth,” he said¬.
“This (Matiari-Lahore) is Pakistan’s first high voltage transmission line and the world’s second. This was the state-of-the-art project [initiated] by the PML-N, he added.