China had so many expectations from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), but it was perplexed after seeing the former PTI government’s attitude and policies, said Pakistan Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, Geo News reported.
“They would say privately that we want to help Pakistan, but we have no idea what the government was trying to achieve,” Iqbal said.
Iqbal said Pakistan lost approximately $40 billion in foreign investment, which would have been possible had the special economic zones been completed. This money has now been diverted to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and some other countries, he said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been in office for barely ten days and his first order of business has been to resume work on the multi-billion dollar CPEC to regain China’s confidence, which was reportedly shaken during the tenure of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government led by Imran Khan.
After the PTI assumed power in 2018, the then commerce advisor, Abdul Razak Dawood, told a British publication that the CPEC “unfairly benefitted Chinese companies” as compared to their Pakistani counterparts.
He further added that the PTI would review Pakistan’s deals with China and would put everything on hold for a year or so, Geo News reported.
The remarks, as per media reports, alienated Beijing. Also, in the last three years, construction on the regional corridor was progressing at a snail’s pace as well.