ISLAMABAD – Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Monday refuted a Dawn article which claimed to reveal the “original plan of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)” and termed it ‘Dawn Leaks II’.

The Dawn’s article claimed that the documents have been released to the public for the first time and disclosed the “real Chinese intentions and priorities are in Pakistan for the next decade and a half, details that have not been discussed in public thus far.”

Ahsan Iqbal, the person who is at the heart of everything that is CPEC, was quick to refute it. “I am appalled by Dawn Leak II. CPEC long-term plan story based on working documents to distort final draft taken up with NDRC yesterday in Beijing,” the planning minister said.

The minister said that Dawn had not approached him or his ministry for fact-checking. “Definite angling in story to malign CPEC by promoting fears,” he added.

He further mentioned that the long-term plan could not have been disclosed by Pakistani government without consulting the Chinese. He called the Dawn story “half cooked” in a race to break the news first.

Pakistan on Saturday signed new deals with China on Saturday worth nearly $500 million ahead of Beijing’s international forum on its “Silk Road” trade and infrastructure initiative for Asia, Africa and Europe, the Pakistani government said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday addressed the plenary session of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation in Beijing, where he stressed that geo-economics should take precedence over geopolitics.

PM Sharif, who had arrived in the Chinese capital on Friday to participate in the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) forum, said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) must not be politicised, adding that the corridor remains open to all countries.

He said that CPEC is at the core of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, which has fostered inclusion and tolerance in the region.

“We are not striving to merely leverage geography for economic prosperity; we are also trying to build a peaceful, connected and caring neighbourhood,” he maintained