China Belt and road the program has found new life in Pakistan with $11 billion of projects signed last month, driven by a former Lieutenant-General, who gave the infrastructure plan, which is already languishing with the Prime Minister Imran Khan took office two years ago.
Nations have signed contracts on 25 June and 6 July for two hydropower generation projects worth $3.9 billion, and the reconstruction of the colonial era in the South Asian nation Railways for 7.2 billion dollars-the most expensive Chinese project in Pakistan.
The Han government appointed last year Asim Salim Bajwa to launch the China-Pakistan economic corridor authority, which oversees more than $70 billion in projects from power plants to highway. He also joined the Khan’s office at the end of April, becoming one of more than a dozen current and former military officials in a government role, as the army expands its influence in the country.
Chinese funding has helped to save Pakistan from a shortage of electricity, which has left exporters unable to meet orders and major cities without electricity for most of the day. Still, the implementation of the investment appeared to stall Khan came to power, with no new projects announced in 2018 and 2019.
As Chinese President XI Jinping launched this initiative in 2013, according to the world Bank was built energy plants about 575 billion dollars, Railways, roads, ports and other projects or are in operation around the world. Her progress lately has slowed, torn by accusations that China luring poor countries in a debt trap in its political and strategic benefits.
“The reality is that most of CPEC as One belt and one road, in a broader sense, was paralyzed,” said Jonathan Hillman, senior research fellow, Center for strategic and international studies in Washington, referring to the China-Pakistan economic corridor. Pakistan “is the flagship of the belt in China and the road, so you need to show progress is even more important.”
Tweet last month, said Bajwa some critics give a “false impression” that CPEC has been slowed. Not only the pace of work on projects lately raised, but much of the ground work was done to launch the second phase of the project, which also includes special economic zones to lure Chinese manufacturers, agriculture, science, technology and tourism, he said.
“The Prime Minister pushed very hard for this,” said Abdul Razak Dawood, the Khan’s Advisor on trade and investment said by phone. “We feel that we must do more and more hydro in our energy balance.”
Press Secretary at office of Bajwa said he was not immediately available for comment.
The Pakistani army is responsible for ensuring each project Beijing-funded, scattered across the country, from the mountains near the Chinese border in the desert in Gwadar, where the Chinese working at the port. Its role became even more important after the terrorist attacks on three Chinese projects in the past year.
“There is no doubt that PM arrival Khan slowed down the pace of CPEC projects,” said Mosharraf Zaidi, a senior research fellow at the Islamabad-brain Tabadlab, and former chief Advisor of the Ministry of foreign Affairs. “The renewal energy approval and we are now seeing almost completely, most likely because of the President settling in, and added to the Prime Minister of the Khan of the Cabinet.”
Indeed there are deepening fears about the ability of Islamabad to service their debts in the program. The center for global development has listed Pakistan among eight countries facing debt sustainability problems because of this initiative. The country needs to repay China is more than double the amount it owes to the International monetary Fund over the next three years, according to the IMF report last year.
For its part, Beijing said that his projects in Pakistan has made significant progress over the past six years. “China strongly supports the development of CPEC and are ready to cooperate with Pakistan,” Chinese foreign Ministry spokesman of China Zhao Lijian, said at a regular briefing in Beijing on 7 July, adding that future cooperation will focus on social development, livelihoods, industry and agriculture in addition to infrastructure construction.
The hydro projects are both based in the Pakistani part of Kashmir, a region-based tensions with chief rival India. The neighbors have fought three wars-two over Kashmir — and last year’s terrorist attack in the Indian-controlled part led to the most serious military escalation in the more than ten years.
The project Power Kohala hydro $ 2.4 billion built on the banks of the Jhelum river in Muzaffarabad, just 100 km (62 miles), where the two armies exchanged shots. Project Azad Pattan-which will cost $ 1.5 billion-is built on the same river.
“China and Pakistan can counter India,” said Hillman. Both hydro project in Kashmir, and the railway is part of a much longer, and still implausible plan to connect China and Pakistan by rail, passing through the occupied territory, said Hillman.
A number of countries to run into trouble with the belt and road projects or to alter the plans after complaints of corruption, soft contracts, debt burden, environmental damage and dependence on the import of Chinese labor for local employees.
Pakistan has returned the project to upgrade the British-era heritage of the railway system. It was originally estimated at 8.2 billion dollars, but it was reduced to $ 6.2 billion, according to the Minister of Railways of the country. The final amount will be higher than the revised value, but still $1 billion less than the initial forecast.
All three new projects that are being discussed for some time before the announcement of this month.
“Although this is a difficult project to get through the line compared with the low-hanging fruit, such as coal and LNG energy projects, which were announced at the beginning of the Chinese project financing,” – said Samiullah Tariq, the head of research at Pakistan Kuwait investment company, “China is an important ally of Pakistan will continue to grow.”
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