Beijing urged to encourage Kabul to crack down on terror groups


ISLAMABAD:

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Sunday Pakistan was not opposed to Afghanistan’s inclusion in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project but would like Beijing to persuade Kabul to crack down on terrorist groups operating from its soil.

In an interview with Voice of America (VOA), Iqbal reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring security for Chinese nationals working in the country, stressing that a special security unit as well as local law-enforcement had been tasked with their safety.

“When you are fighting terrorism, the terrorists always try to find a way somewhere,” the minister said, while responding to a question about the security situation. But, he added, the Chinese government had made it “very clear that such cowardly incidents” would not deter it from pursuing CPEC.

Iqbal said that the Chinese investment in the mega-development project helped turn around the national economy at a time when the country was passing through difficult times. “CPEC put Pakistan on the sustainable growth and development trajectory and showed China’s trust in Pakistan,” he added.

“When China decided to invest $25 billion in Pakistan, this is [in] 2013, when we had 18 hours of power shortages and frequent suicide bombings [and] at that time they decided to come to Pakistan and support Pakistan,” he stated.

“China considers Pakistan as a strategic friend and has confidence in Pakistan,” Iqbal said. “I think it is the same sense of confidence that Chinese investors and Chinese government have in this government,” the minister added.

According to the planning minister, the recent bullish performance of the country’s stock exchange also showed that the local investors had full confidence in the direction the current government was following.

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