…China is now forced to reconsider the future of its financial and manpower investments in Pakistan.
Amid long delays in the completion of projects under the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) from China‘s Xinjiang province, which was ‘officially’ launched in 2015 and over this, Islamabad’s lackadaisical attitude had sowed the frustration in Beijing, a media report said.
According to the recent CPEC Authority report, Pakistan could complete only three projects in Gwadar but its “one-dozen projects costing nearly USD 2 billion remain unfinished including water supply and electricity provision” had irked the Chinese government.
According to the publication, China is more worried about their nationals staying in Pakistan after the recent attack on them. The Chinese officials in Pakistan have expressed serious concerns and questioned Islamabad’s inability to protect their nationals after the recent killing of three Chinese language teachers in Karachi.
The Karachi University campus attack was the third attack on the Chinese in Pakistan which had questioned Pakistan’s ability to maintain the security in their nation.
Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman of Pakistan’s Senate Defence Committee recently remarked, “The Chinese confidence in Pakistan’s security system’s ability to protect their citizens and their projects is seriously shaken.”
Adding more to the CPEC problem, over two dozen Chinese firms operating in Pakistan have recently warned “that they would be forced to shut down their power plants in May unless payments of PKR 300 billion were made upfront,” the publication reported.
More than 30 Chinese companies operating CPEC, including 25 representatives from Chinese independent power producers (IPPs), in various areas including energy, communication, railways, and others, recently met Pakistan’s Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal to lodge their complaints over the non-payment of dues.
Pakistan’s new Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has sought to further strengthen “all weather strategic partnership” with China, including through the “rapid implementation” of CPEC.
And on top of this, Pakistan doesn’t stop to play their old blame game. Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has blamed former PM Imran Khan for ruining the CPEC project and assured the Parliament to prioritize the CPEC.
There are other factors which had contributed to delaying the CPEC projects in the last three and half years. Politically, Pakistan is in a deep crisis after the Imran Khan government was ousted from power last month.
The 11-party coalition government may fall anytime, even before the 2023 General Elections in Pakistan. Therefore, the Sharif-led government is not in a position to take big policy measures to sort out CPEC-related issues.
According to the publication, It seems that like Sri Lanka, Pakistan had also fallen too deep into the Chinese “debt-trap,” and its economy is in a deep mess.