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China shows reluctance to invest more in Pak’s CPEC

China shows reluctance to invest more in Pak’s CPEC

In July, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the ambitious multi-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be completed at any cost. The project, Khan said, was the “manifestation of Pakistan-China friendship” and that this would contribute immensely in uplifting the social economic status of the country. Things seems to have changed since then.

In what could prove to be a big blow to Islamabad, China has reportedly shown unwillingness to invest more into the project, which anyway is mired in controversies related to corruption. The icing on the cake was the recent expose of the CPEC Chairman, Lt General Asim Saleem Bajwa (Retd): his family’s assets increased with his own rise in the army. Not just that, the scandal was kept under wraps by the Pakistan media.


While the Imran Khan government has been trying to cover up the scandal, Pakistan’s Information Minister Shibli Faraz said late Monday evening that Bajwa will offer an explanation over the corruption charges. Earlier, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi tried to underplay the claims, saying that such reports had been carried out without conformation.

Pakistan’s over-dependence on China has led to souring of relations with other allies. At a time when the cash-starved Pakistan’s dependence is growing on Beijing, the recent turn of events would make Khan a worried man.

Last month, with China’s financial assistance, Islamabad was able to repay one third of the $3 billion loan it received from Saudi Arabia in 2018. The Gulf nation, however, has deferred renewal of the oil supply agreement.

At this juncture, Pakistan’s over-dependence on China has also had a direct impact on its ties with the US. “We are fortunate that we have a friend that stood by us through thick and thin. None of our other friends have stood by us like China politically supported and defended us on all fronts,” the Pakistan PM in an interview with a local television news channel said.


In the last few years, China has become Pakistan’ most important donor. “Pakistan’s desire to maintain strategic relations with China has resulted in the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a set of infrastructure projects, being mired in insufficient transparency,” an article published by The Diplomat said.

“Pakistan’s dependence on China has increased manifold in just a few years, and at this stage if China decides to invest less in the CPEC, it will hurt Islamabad immensely. Not only will this have economic ramifications but also political,” said an analyst.

Notably, earlier in February, Pakistan, in a bid to show its solidarity with China, even refused to airlift its citizens from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus.

For Khan, the analyst said, the going may just get tougher..