Islamabad: During a weekly meeting, Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal denied reports that Beijing had halted payments for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects worth USD 50 billion.
Earlier, National Assembly Secretariat Ahsan Iqbal had informed CPEC parliamentary committee that work on these projects would only restart after Beijing issues ‘new guidelines.
Muhammad Faisal denied the claims saying that payments were executed in a specific manner.
Al-Haj Gul Khan Afridi, had told Dawn newspaper that funding had not been stonewalled but that China had raised ‘technical objections’ to three National Highways Authority (NHA) road projects.
Afridi’s claims had been rubbished by a senior NHA official who said, “It is not true that China raised objections to the projects because these had already been approved at the 6th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting held last year”
The three were related to the road network and were allegedly halted following reports of corruption. The decision can reportedly impact road projects worth Rs 1 trillion.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Umar had said, the members were informed that Beijing was reassessing the projects under its “financial review”.
CPEC is the crown jewel of China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ endeavour, which has routinely impeded by frequent terrorist activities. India has opposed the project as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The prestigious project was launched during President Xi Jinping’s Pakistan visit in 2015.
Originally, part of Pakistan’s domestic development programmes, CPEC now envisions investment in several projects across the country that are worth around USD 50 billion.