With the crack of dawn, social media woke up to a new ‘leak’ by Dawn newspaper, this time about the multi-billion-dollar ‘game-changing’ project – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Using the words “The floodgates are about to open”, Dawn Journalist Khurram Husain opens his piece titled “CPEC master plan revealed” in yesterday’s paper. The article ignited a heated debate on the social media platforms. Soon the government minister for planning joined in, who termed the new revelations as “Dawn Leaks II”. “I am appalled by Dawn Leak II. CPEC Long Term Plan story based on working docs 2 distort final draft taken up with NDRC yesterday in Beijing,” said Minister of Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhry in one of his four quick tweets on the subject. While slamming the report, the minister said, “CDB study referred to as Long Term Plan in Dawn story is factually incorrect. Definite angling in story to malign CPEC by promoting fears.” “We couldn’t release LTP without final consultation with Chinese side which was done yesterday. In race for breaking news half cooked story,” he said in a third tweet, after being confronted by former Dawn editor Abbas Nasir. “Instead of lashing out at Dawn @betterpakistan should have made public the latest docs if diff from Dawn story. But transparency and PMLN?,” Nasir tweeted, inviting the planning minister to set the record straight if there ware any discrepancy between the ‘actual’ report and the one published by the newspaper. “Rather than cast aspersions at Dawn, why don’t you set the record correct and share the actual facts? Seriously.” “Because Dawn speaks truth to power, all the powerful try and cast aspersions on it, as if the readers can’t tell,” he said in his next message. The sentiments were shared by columnist Mosharraf Zaidi, who said in tweet, “Even advocates of CPEC (like me) are left speechless by the clumsy, defensive responses of govt to legitimate stories like @KhurramHusain’s.” Some also questioned the need for keeping the details of the CPEC plan secret for so long, especially when the project is part of Chinese effort to create the world’s largest economic platform. “They were making all efforts to keep the plan secret but thanks to Dawn for revealing the report. Govt. never wanted to disclose it till 2030,” wrote Muhammad Arif Domki, a tweeter. “China’s LONG TERM PLAN for Pakistan via CPEC is hair raising as revealed by Dawn. Blown secrecy cover much to annoyance of Ahsan Iqbal, wrote Brig (r) Farooq Hameed Khan, a columnist and political/defence analyst Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Member of National Assembly Nafisa Shah also took to the Twitter, supporting the article and urging the federal government to make the details of the project public. “Govt must come clean on this long term plan which has huge implications for Pakistani economy. Kudos to #Dawn,” she said. Another tweeter, by the name of Jaunalia, pointed to the discriminatory attitude of the Centre towards provinces other than Punjab, asking, “Only Provincial Gov that received the full version of the plan is Punjab Gov”.Why only Punjab? Will Mr Ahesan Iqbal answer this?” Journalist Umar Cheema remarked on twitter, “CPEC is being treated as a nuclear program. Very few in govt knows details. What will be economic impact remains unknown. @betterpakistan.” A blogger, Tammana Haq, wrote, “First @KhawajaMAsif lied in his tweet about rental power plans & had to eat a humble pie. Now @betterpakistan trying to defend CPEC fiasco.” Some, like the US-based Pakistani cardiologist Arshad Rehan also supported the story by calling the game-changer “A project of the Chinese, by the Chinese, for the Chinese #CPEC.” On the other hand, some activists came to the rescue of the planning minister, with some retweeting or repeating what the minister and his ministry’s official account handlers had already tweeted. “Pakistan govt has rejected disinformation in DAWN story about CPEC. Pakistan must crack down on foreign funded influence operatives in media,” wrote blogger Saad Yousaf.