Opposition parties have directed a volley of criticism towards Shahbaz Gill, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Political Communication, after a short video clip of the SAPM started doing the rounds on social media platforms recently.
In the 36 second long snippet, Gill is seen to be responding to a question about the potential benefits of the arrival of billions in Chinese investment in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Is Chinese investment beneficial for Pakistan? Being a business professor, I would say no, not at all. Chinese culture is very different. I love China too. I’m not saying I’m against China but [they possess a] very different culture.
Gill further adds:
The way you see things very differently. The way you see society is very different. Pakistanis do not know anything about Chinese culture at all. They know more about the US or any other European country than China. So, in any way, they are not ready to engage in that business or in that trade.
Shahbaz Gill, however, has clarified that the snippet has been deliberately extracted from a speech delivered in December 2017 to create a wrong impression.
2018 Dec پاکستان کے لئیے ایک کانفرنس کروائی۔جس میں اسد عمر صاحب معید پیرزادہ نجمہ پیرزادہ اورلفٹیننٹ جنرل جعفر اعوان صاحب کو مدعو کیا انکی موجودگی میں اپنی تقریر سے امریکیوں کہ سامنے پاکستان کا مقدمہ لڑا۔کچھ لوگ اس تقریر کہ چند سیکنڈ کہ حصے کو استعمال کر کہ غلط میسج دے رہے ہیں pic.twitter.com/s8EsdbgVrZ
— Dr. Shahbaz GiLL (@SHABAZGIL) June 6, 2020
Despite Gill’s clarification, Chairperson Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mushahid Hussain Syed, shared the video and termed its content as shocking and unacceptable.
Shocking and unacceptable statement from an official spokesman of the Government of Pakistan. Music to ears of our enemies who’d love to hear such language about our best friend!
Shocking & unacceptable statement from an official spokesman of Govt of Pakistan, music to ears of our enemies who’d love to hear such language about our best friend! When Ahsan Iqbal @betterpakistan was Planning Minister, there was political ownership of CPEC, no longer it seems https://t.co/G1ld50fs9P
— Mushahid Hussain Sayed (@Mushahid) June 7, 2020
Going a step ahead, Secretary General Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Ahsan Iqbal, has demanded Shahbaz Gill’s resignation.
How can CPEC be successful when anti-Chinese elements are present within the ranks of government? Shahbaz Gill should resign immediately after his remarks against China.
شہباز گل کے پاکستان کے دوست ملک چین کے خلاف بیان منظر عام آنے کے بعد ان سے فورا استعفی لیا جائے- حکومت کی آستینوں میں چین دشمن لوگ بیٹھے ہیں تو سی پیک کیسے کامیاب ہو سکتا ہے؟ pic.twitter.com/9VdsvvlnjD
— Ahsan Iqbal (@betterpakistan) June 7, 2020