China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has picked up pace once again as China has invested more than $11 Billion in Pakistan in 2020 alone. This is the second biggest amount of Chinese investment in a single year after 2015 which witnessed a total investment of over $12 billion.
The progress over the CPEC appeared to have stalled between 2017 and 2019 due to the relatively low amount of Chinese investment. However, CPEC has been reinvigorated since the appointment of Lt Gen (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa as the Chairman of the CPEC Authority (CPECA) in November last year.
Here is a breakdown of Chinese investment in the last 5 years.
Last month, Pakistan and China signed an agreement to build 2 hydro power plants worth $3.9 Billion in Azad Kashmir amid tensions with India. Another deal worth $7.2 billion to revamp the outdated railway infrastructure from the colonial era was also agreed last month.
Bajwa’s commendable performance as the Chairman CPECA earned him another role as Prime Minister Imran Khan appointed him as the Special Assistant to PM (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting in April.
According to a World Bank estimate, energy plants, railways, roads, ports, and other projects worth $575 billion have either been developed or are in the works all around the world since Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013.
Notwithstanding, both CPEC and BRI have their critics who accuse China of luring poor countries into debt traps to gain political and strategic leverage over its rivals. Some argue that the recent deals worth billions of dollars under CPEC between both countries have only been signed to portray Pakistan as a flagship and to demonstrate progress before the world under the BRI, alluding that the progress on the CPEC had slowed down in recent years.
Zhao Lijian, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, in a press briefing in Beijing last week denounced the impressions which suggested that CPEC had slowed down in the recent past and said China’s projects in Pakistan had made major progress over the last five years.
China firmly supports the development of CPEC and stands ready to work with Pakistan. Future cooperation between both countries will focus on social development, livelihood, industry, and agriculture in addition to infrastructure construction.
Via: BNN Bloomberg