Islamabad: The Pakistani establishment had hoped that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will generate economic growth in the country and will help Pakistan emerge as a regional power.
However, those hopes have increasingly turned to despair as the CPEC is turning out to be a burden on Pakistan even as it enables the Chinese to exploit Pakistan’s resources.
The amount of money which China has ‘invested’ in the CPEC is actually in the form of a loan with an extremely high rate of interest.
The people of Pakistan will eventually have to pay this huge amount in the form of high electricity tariffs.
Several scams have also come to light which were looting Pakistan’s resources under the cover of the CPEC project.
However, despite this, the Pakistan government insists that the CPEC is beneficial for the country.
The Pakistan Foreign Minister has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a transformational project contributing positively and transparently to the country’s national development.
Pakistan’s statement on Friday came after Alice Wells, outgoing principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs of the US State Department, recently criticized the CPEC projects, reports Xinhua news agency.
It is reiterated that CPEC, a long-term project, has helped address development gaps in energy, infrastructure, industrialization, and job creation in Pakistan, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We have reiterated many times that our total public debt relating to CPEC projects is less than even 10 per cent of the total debt. Moreover, the public debt obtained from China has a maturity period of 20 years and the interest is 2.34 per cent. If grants are included, the interest value slides down to about 2 per cent,” the statement said.
“The claims made by some of the commentators and public officials on Pakistan’s debt obligations relating to CPEC are contrary to facts,” it added.
The statement said Pakistan believes that regional economic connectivity will provide a critical stimulus for creating broad-based growth across the region.
“Pakistan and China have several mechanisms to discuss matters of mutual interest. Both countries are regularly in touch to address those issues bilaterally,” according to the statement.
CPEC is a flagship $60 billion project of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a vast network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes.
The multi-billion dollar corridor connects the city of Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.