Pakistan defends CPEC, rejects Pompeo’s statements on IMF package

ISLAMABAD (Monitoring Desk): Foreign Minister Abdullah Hussain Haroon on Wednesday evening said that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement that US is looking towards a constructive relationship with Pakistan while simultaneously warning the International Monetary Fund (IMF) against providing funds to Pakistan, is contradictory.

In an interview with CNBC television, Pompeo said the United States looked forward to engagement with the government of Pakistan’s expected new prime minister, Imran Khan, but said there was “no rationale” for a bailout that pays off Chinese loans to Pakistan.

Speaking to press, Haroon said that the government is fully committed to undertaking and completing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in their totality.

CPEC is important for the future of Pakistan’s development & prosperity and the government will continue to ensure that all projects are completed according to agreed terms and within the stipulated timeline, he said.

The foreign minister said CPEC will not be hostage to any third party’s self-serving agenda.

Clarifying on seeking IMF package, Haroon “categorically” stated that the caretaker government has neither applied nor has the mandate to decide the matter, especially at the juncture where the democratically elected government is about to assume its responsibilities. It is a policy matter which has to be decided by the incoming government, he said.

Haroon also expressed concerns over the implications on regional strategic stability arising from the continued US assistance to India in nuclear and dual use technologies, such as the recent grant of individual licenses for the high technology weapons amounting to USD9.7 billion. Apart from the discriminatory approach in this area, Pakistan’s achievements in the counter terrorism area remain largely unacknowledged as evidenced by withholding of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) reimbursements, the FO statement said.

It is high time that both countries work towards promoting shared goals of peace and development in South Asia and beyond, the statement added.

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