Nawaz Sharif's disqualification as Prime Minister is Pakistan's "internal affair" and will not impact the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, an official has said here. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a press briefing on Friday that the Pakistani Supreme Court verdict on the Panama Papers case is not going to affect bilateral ties between the two countries.
"We believe that the China-Pakistan strategic cooperative partnership will not be affected by the change of the situation inside Pakistan. China stands ready to work with Pakistan to continue jointly building the One Belt and One Road," Lu said.
The CPEC is a flagship project of China's Belt and Road initiative. Beijing also calls the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar corridor as part of the ambitious design. The 3,000 km, over USD 50 billion CPEC corridor stretches from Kashgar in western China to Gwadar port in Pakistan on the Arabian sea. Along the way, China is funding and building several mega infrastructure projects, including road and railway networks, and power plants. According to estimates, over 30,000 Pakistanis are working on the corridor project.
"As a friendly neighbour, China hopes that all parties and sections in Pakistan can prioritise state and national interests, properly deal with their domestic affairs, maintain unity, stability, and keep focusing on the economic and social development," the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
The all-weather friendship between China and Pakistan has withstood the test of times, Lu added.
Nawaz Sharif resigned on Friday after the Supreme Court, accusing him of dishonesty, disqualified him from holding the post following a probe that exposed illegal family wealth stashed abroad. A five-judge bench unanimously disqualified Sharif from his post after an investigative panel linked his grown up children to offshore companies, showing that their wealth was far above their legitimate earnings.