Pakistan lost billions due to anti-govt protests: Minister

Pakistan on Friday said it lost "billions of dollars" due to the recent anti-government protests led by Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri and accused them of attempting to derail ties with China.

Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday said it lost "billions of dollars" due to the recent anti-government protests led by Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri and accused them of attempting to derail ties with China.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that Khan of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Qadri of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) were responsible for damaging the economy and derailing the process of development.

Addressing a press conference, Asif said the economy has suffered losses of "billions of dollars" due to the ongoing protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Asif did not give exact figure of the loss suffered by the fragile economy of the country but said that several projects could not be started.

He also held the two leaders responsible for the cancellation of a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, when the government expected to sign agreements worth USD 34 billion during that trip.

Asif also said that agreements will be signed next month with China for 10,400 MW projects of electricity generation in Pakistan. He said a delegation will go to China for this purpose next week.

The Minister said the projects to be executed with Chinese assistance will include hydle, wind and coal which will generate cheap electricity to overcome energy shortage in the country.

Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab province and younger brother of Prime Minister also said that the protests caused huge damage to national economy.

Both Khan and Qadri launched protests on August 14 to dislodge Sharif for alleged rigging in 2013 general elections. The protests have failed but the uncertainty has deepened, causing political instability in the country.  

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