By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan has taken China into confidence before inviting Saudi Arabia to join China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project as a strategic partner, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Friday.
The minister was responding to a tweet by former interior and planning minister, Ahsan Iqbal of PML-N, who asked whether Beijing had been taken on board before formally inviting Riyadh to join the mega venture, according to English newspaper, Daily Dawn.
“Has China been taken into confidence? CPEC is a bilateral project in which induction of any other country has to have [the] concurrence of both sides,” Iqbal wrote.
In response, Chaudhry said Chinese assent had been sought and that the “expansion of CPEC is in China and Pakistan[‘s] interest”
“Pakistan will be a centre of economic activity of this region, era of darkness is over,” he added.
Islamabad had invited Saudi Arabia to become the third partner in the Beijing-funded Belt and Road corridor of major infrastructure projects inside during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia is the first country whom we have invited as third country partner in CPEC,” Fawad Chaudhry told newsmen on Thursday, referring to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Beijing has pledged $60 billion to build power stations, major highways, new and upgraded railways and higher capacity ports, to help turn Pakistan into a major overland route linking western China to the world through Southern Pakistan port of Gwader.
Chaudhry said a Saudi delegation will be coming to Pakistan in the first week of October, including the Saudi minister for finance and energy, and that should lay down a “foundation for a very big partnership”.
“God willing, very big investments will be coming to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia this way,” he added.