CPEC inevitable for development of Pakistan: FM

National consensus exists among all political parties on Kashmir issue: Qureshi


our correspondent
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that America’s stance on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would have “no impact” on the project.
Talking to media here on Sunday, he said that CPEC is a game Changer for the region and there is no restriction for any country including USA to invest in Economic Zones being established under CPEC.
Qureshi has stated that the CPEC is inevitable for the development of country and it will be further expanded, adding that Pakistan does not agree with the views expressed by US diplomat Alice Wells.
“We do not agree with the [American] assessment and we have conveyed as much. In fact, we have expedited CPEC projects and have initiated the second phase of its implementation,” he said. Qureshi said China’s share in Pakistan’s overall debt burden was small. However, the mega projects would have a positive impact on the national economy.
“Pakistan’s total debt burden is $74 billion, of which CPEC is only $4.9bn. CPEC is a game-changer for the entire region and there is no restriction on any country, including the USA, to invest in the special economic zones, being established under CPEC,” added Qureshi.
Replying to a question on Kashmir, the Foreign Minister said that a national consensus exists among all political parties on the issue of Kashmir, adding that they would invite opposition parties in the meeting. He said that it has been decided that next meeting of the Kashmir Cell will be held at Foreign Office in Islamabad in which Prime Minister Imran Khan will also be invited to attend.
The Prime Minister will be briefed on next course of action in the light of developments taking place on Kashmir. The Minister said in another development Indian Supreme Court has also directed the BJP-led government to present its stance on the issue.
Qureshi said India was violating human rights in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. It had imposed curfew and other restrictions for the last 112 days and people had no access to food, medicines, internet and other items of daily use. Pakistan would continue to raise the issue at international forums, he added.
He said that Pakistan wants to reemphasize that focus on Kashmir which was diverted due to internal politics in the country.
He urged the media to keep its focus on plight of Kashmiris and Indian brutal tactics to suppress their right to self-determination.
Qureshi said the issue of Jammu and Kashmir was raised at House of Representatives and the US Congress by Rashida Talib. In a resolution, presented in the US Congress, it was demanded that curfew in occupied Jammu and Kashmir should be lifted immediately, violation of human rights should be stopped, and detained political leaders and workers should be released immediately.
The Minister said Pakistan has raised its protest at the diplomatic level with Norway over the desecration of Holy Quran in that country.
Norwegian ambassador was called at Foreign Office yesterday and conveyed of Pakistan’s deep concern and protest on the matter. Pakistani ambassador in Norway has also been directed to raise the issue with the host government in order to bring the culprit to justice and the young man who attempted to stop the desecrator should be released immediately.
About on-going accountability drive, Qureshi said that the process of transparent accountability would continue in the country, adding that no one wanted to face accountability process, and whenever people were held accountable, they attempt to create hindrances in the way of the accountability process.
Responding to a question about Asif Ali Zardari’s trial in Rawalpindi, Qureshi said the matter was sub judice. He, however, said Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was in government in Sindh and it was not cooperating in transparent accountability process.
To another question about ex-premier Nawaz Sharif’s health and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement about that, Qureshi said he could not comment on the issue, adding the health ministry could answer in a better way.

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