Dismissing the US’ concern over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that Washington should not look at the multi-billion project from India’s perspective as it would provide a platform that would benefit all. The CPEC will provide a platform for bringing together South and Central Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries by physically joining them through an economic corridor, Dawn News quoted Iqbal as saying. The $50 billion CPEC passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), over which India has conveyed its protests to China. The area covers Karakoram mountain ranges, including the Siachen glacier.
India has been severely critical of the CPEC, saying the project violates its sovereignty as it runs through PoK.
Iqbal, who was the keynote speaker at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies here, urged the US to deal with Pakistan on its own “merit”, instead of tagging it to other states and issues in the region. “CPEC is not a conspiracy against anyone. It is not a security plan. It’s a plan for economic prosperity, which is bringing investment in the energy, infrastructure and other key sectors,” said Iqbal when reminded of US objections to the plan to build a corridor.
Defence Secretary James Mattis last week said the CPEC passes through disputed territory and the US could not ignore this fact. This was seen in Islamabad as a direct endorsement of India’s position on the project, which passes through PoK. However, Iqbal said US concerns about CPEC were unfounded. “It will benefit all and will provide a platform for bringing together South and Central Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries by physically joining them through an economic corridor,” he said. “So, I think, the US should not look at CPEC from the Indian perspective, but as a source for peace, stability and prosperity in the region. CPEC can bring the much-needed stability to a region that has suffered from war for the last several decades,” Iqbal added.
“Pakistan is also a sovereign nation. We have our own dignity and want others to respect that,” he said. “If the US looks at the region from India’s perspective, it will harm the region and US interests too. So, it’s necessary that the US should view the situation from an independent perspective, not from someone else’s point of view,” he said.
Viewing Pakistan from someone else’s perspective would create complications and only terrorists would benefit from it, he added.