The new Imran Khan-led government is pressurizing China to undertake serious poverty alleviating initiatives instead of the previous big ‘infrastructural’ programs dominating the Beijing’s high-profile overseas investment program – as reported by Wall Street Journal after a meeting between Pakistani and Chinese officials.
Pakistan has served as an endeavour for China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, focused on constructing finance support along with other infrastructural facilities across the world. Pakistan shows a desire to broaden the effort after China continues to experience aggressive criticism and resistance on its program in the counties ranging from Malaysia to Montenegro.
Washington, however, shows grave concerns on China’s progress in the sphere, with an established opinion that Beijing is gaining global influence by, as called by the critics, the ‘debt trap diplomacy’*. China, however, rejects the notion and calls it a ‘Western propaganda’.
*Debt trap diplomacy: Debt trap diplomacy refers to how creditor countries use debt to fulfil their strategic goals. Creditor countries use debt burden to attain assets such as political influence and ports.
The PTI government is seriously considering massive changes in the secretive $62 billion CPEC (Pakistan China Economic Corridor) – the most talked about aspect of Belt and Road initiative focused on building rail, power plants, ports and roads.
The program will be showing an inclination towards private-sector Chinese factories in Pakistan, as said by the Pakistani officials. This will give a chance to include more Pakistani labourers and suppliers in the process and more social-sector projects like sanitation.
The changes’ job has been assigned to a nine-member committee formed by the new government and will be headed by the Planning Minister, Khusro Bakhtiar.
As per the officials, the committee will also look into if the project has been purposefully designed to benefit eastern Punjab as the previous government had their political base there. The government has also ordered a partial audit of the controversial $2 billion Orange Line metro train project.
Responding on it, Beijing said:
“the two sides agreed to determine CPEC’s future course of development and cooperation through negotiations based on Pakistan’s next-stage socioeconomic development priorities and the needs of its people’’ – (Source: Wall Street Journal)
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