Islamabad: At a time when rumuors are doing the rounds that China’s financial institutions and banks are hesitant to invest in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Imran Khan has decided to pursue a $2.7 billion loan from China to develop the Mainline-1 package.
The main railway line 1 links Karachi in the south to Peshawar in the north of Pakistan.
At the Sixth Meeting of the ML-1 Project Financing Committee, which involves the dualization and improvement of the 1,872 km railroad from Peshawar to Karachi, it was agreed that Pakistan would initially ask China to grant a loan of only USD 2.73 billion out of the expected total Chinese financing of USD 6.1 billion.
This development comes only as Pakistan’s economy has been on the brink of bankruptcy for some time, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation even worse.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs has been directed to formally send a letter of intent to China next week as Beijing is expected to finalise its next year’s financing plans by the end of the current month, the Express Tribune announced.
CPEC was marketed as the perfect solution to Pakistan’s economic problems. But it was China that squeezed all the benefits.
This move would have a further effect on Pakistan’s already weakened economy, even as the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has been controlled.
However, PM Imran Khan repeatedly stressed the need to complete the $60-billion CPEC by saying that it would drive socioeconomic growth forward.
For China, CPEC is a strategic game-changer-the greatest achievement of Chinese expansionism, and for Pakistan, it is a life-long opportunity and its last chance for economic modernisation.