A parliamentary committee meeting held on Monday revealed a difference of opinion over the way the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was using roads, land and entire routes for Chinese trucks to cross into Pakistan. Some committee members had reservations saying that the Chinese were bound to use these routes the same way the NATO supply trucks did, leaving damaged roads and not paying for the upkeep of the same.
They cautioned against offering the Chinese the same NATO-like deal that was previously in effect.
In the early days of the war on terror, supply trucks from NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) would use Pakistani roads and routes to cross into Afghanistan, carrying supplies for their troops there. However, due to the heavy loads, movement and the amount of trucks that went everyday, all those roads were ruined and needed to be remade. That episode cost the Pakistani government a lot and now the Parliamentary committee members are afraid that the Chinese trucks might do the same.
The re-building of these roads from the damage inflicted by the NATO trucks had cost the Pakistani government Rs. 100 billion in May 2012 and none of this was paid back by any of the participating countries of NATO, it was shared in the parliamentary meeting.
China isn’t Paying To Use These Roads
The Chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Planning and Development commented on this aspect of the trading agreement which does not mention the maintenance of the roads and routes used at all. China has not even mentioned paying or compensating Pakistan for the use of these roads.
While the security arrangements and all its costs for CPEC are being borne by the Pakistani government, the Secretary of the Planning and Development Committee did say that the costs for the maintenance of existing and building of new roads would be decided together by China and Pakistan.
Security Expenses Are Pakistan’s Responsibility
It has been already decided that all security expenses for this economic agreement will be borne by the Pakistani government out of CPEC earnings and that they must spend one percent on this aspect.
The Pakistani government admits that talking to the Chinese government about payment of maintenance of trade routes will be a difficult task but they have also resolved to sort out the matter at the earliest convenience.