China unhappy with pace of CPEC


That the Chinese are “not happy with the current progress of CPEC projects” ought to ring serious alarm bells in Islamabad not just because the Corridor is the landmark project that will provide the kind of infrastructure that will give the Pakistani economy a long-term facelift, but also because China is the single biggest foreign investor in this country. And CPEC is just one, although integral, part of the larger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), President Xi Jinping’s revolutionary idea that is recreating the ancient Silk Route commerce in the modern setting.
Yet things have got to the point that the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning and Development, Saleem Mandviwalla, said that “they (Chinese) are crying” and that “the Chinese ambassador has complained to me that you have destroyed CPEC and no work was done in the past three years.” That in itself is a ringing indictment of the government’s efforts to protect and promote this project, which comes with unprecedented investment in the country’s economy. The PM’s special advisor on CPEC, Khalid Mansoor, has now made it his business to sort things out and “restore Chinese confidence” and admitted that he himself hasn’t been satisfied with the progress of certain projects.
That naturally begs the question of why he didn’t raise the red flag himself? And much earlier? It’s for a reason that everybody in government, including the prime minister, appreciates and endorses CPEC. It has given us an opportunity to upgrade the entire country’s infrastructure in one go; something that would never have happened otherwise. Granted, projects of such magnitude often run into unforeseen technical and logistical issues. But for them to be delayed on account of other reasons, especially easily avoidable ones, is unforgivable. There is a very urgent need to address this issue. It wasn’t too long ago when then CPEC Authority Chairman Asim Bajwa often tweeted about progress and how everything was on track, which we now know wasn’t quite the case. So, if the Chinese are right about the lack of progress, then Bajwa must be responsible, and therefore should be held accountable, for a bulk of it. There should be a detailed investigation into the matter and everybody responsible must be made to answer for it.