Forensic audit of CPEC projects during PTI rule angered China: PM

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that his predecessor Imran Khan ruined the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project and added that forensic audit of the CPEC projects carried out by the PTI-led government angered the Chinese authorities.

He made these remarks while speaking to a delegation of the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) in Lahore on Sunday, according to Express News.

CPEC remained dormant during most of the time of the previous government but lately there had been some progress after the last political regime brought in Khalid Mansoor as special assistant to the PM on CPEC affairs.

Pakistan could complete only three China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects in Gwadar having value of over $300 million, as one-dozen schemes costing nearly $2 billion remained unfinished including water supply and electricity provision, according to the CPEC Authority.

PM Shehbaz in today’s media interaction expressed his resolve to effectively work over the CPEC and Riko Diq projects. He also reaffirmed resolve to maintain ties with all the brotherly nations and other countries on basis of mutual respect and mutual interests.

Also read: Only 3 CPEC projects in Gwadar completed

Press freedom

Speaking about challenges to press freedom in the country, PM Shehbaz reiterated that his government had no intention to put any restriction on freedom of media and expression.

The prime minister also assured that journalists would be provided with best possible protection against unwarranted actions under the PECA ordinance and other related laws.

He said that the ministry of law had already been tasked to review the PECA ordinance.

Praising the CPNE role for the freedom of media, strengthening of democracy, and evolution of democratic institutions in the country, the prime minister said that the government was keen to engage constructively with the CPNE and other media representative bodies for the protection of the rights of journalists and promotion of responsible journalism in the country.

During the meeting, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Secretary Information Shahera Shahid, Principal Information Officer Mobashir Hasan and other officials were present.

CPNE delegation included president Kazim Khan, senior vice president Ayaz Khan, vice president Punjab Irshad Ahmad Arif, secretary-general Aamir Mahmood and other members.

Economic challenges

The prime minister said that the government was taking all possible measures to ensure power generation and its supply, so that public woes could be addressed.

The previous government had doubled the country’s debt during the last four years rule which had made the lives of poor miserable, he said, adding that they were making efforts to provide basic necessities of life including flour, health treatment and medicines at subsidised rates.

He regretted that during the previous government’s rule, special arrangements were not made at PKIL like facilities for giving free-of-cost treatment to the poor and deserving patients.

The prime minister stressed upon the solidarity of the nation to resolve the current economic challenges for the welfare of the people and said that holding of a long march – announced by deposed PM Imran Khan – in this situation amounted to uncalled for and creation of fissures among the nation.

He observed that electoral reforms were a must for holding of transparent elections in the country.

(With input from APP)

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