CPEC was sold as the ultimate solution to Pakistan’s economic troubles. But, it was China that has squeezed all the benefits.
Now, the Chinese government is reluctant to finance the Main Line 1 project, largest in China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Pakistan at the 1% interest rate demanded by Islamabad.
The Main Line 1 railway track connects Karachi in the South to Peshawar in the North of Pakistan.
Earlier, there were reports that the financial institutions and banks of China are showing reluctance in investing in the China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC), the flagship component of China’s massive BRI infrastructure project due to the unstable political climate in the Islamic republic.
This move will further impact Pakistan’s already battered economy, even as the spread of the coronavirus pandemic was contained.
However, PM Imran Khan has repeatedly highlighted the need to complete the $60-billion CPEC saying that it would push socio-economic development.
According to Pakistan Railways, January 21 was the scheduled date for the commencement of the work on the Main Line 1, or ML-1, railway project. However, after the hesitation showed by Beijing on agreeing to borrowing terms, the ML-1 project is unlikely to start on schedule.
(With inputs from agencies)