Concerns on CPEC misplaced


China is investing $62 billion in Pakistan through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as part of its Belt and Road initiative, which the government and public believe as a game-changer for the country’s destiny. During the last five years since its advent in Pakistan, CPEC has enabled the country to avert its energy crisis, besides building an elaborate network of roads and other infrastructure in its various parts. With increasing energy and diminishing distances, not only the lifestyle of people has changed, but economic activity also got a phenomenal boost. There is no doubt that there is an organized campaign against the CPEC both from in and outside the country. Pakistan cannot step back from its friends especially from those who are time tested and helped it out at the time when it was in the deepest crisis. There is no authenticity of the facts behind US concern. The maturity of the public debt from China is 20 years. This is called a long-term debt. The average interest rate on these debts is only 2.34 per cent. If Pakistan includes the grant element in the number of sum it is receiving from China, the interest rate further declines to two per cent. The first phase of this project was infrastructure building and energy sector’s development, which has been completed. Now Pakistan is entering into a second phase which envisages nine Special Economic Zones in all the provinces. The allegations by Wells are disappointing because CPEC has ensured energy security for Pakistan and set the stage for an industrial revolution in the next stage of the massive project, which is already in progress. China has also clarified that it will never ever ask for these loan repayments as long as Pakistan is need of this money. Pakistan is a sovereign country, which has its own economic and national security priorities. China is a long and trusted strategic partner of Pakistan and has always supported it during its worst crisis that is why the relationship termed as higher than Himalayas as and deeper than the deepest sea.

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