The new Pakistan government has decided to abolish the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority, the country’s Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said, The Express Tribune reported on Thursday.
The authority was set up through an Ordinance in 2019 and the previous Imran Khan-led government had enacted the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority Act in May 2021. The government body was to be responsible for planning and co-ordinating all activities pertaining to the corridor.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a group of infrastructure projects being built between China’s Xinjiang province and the Gwadar port in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. The corridor includes a network of railway tracks, roads, pipelines and optical cable fibres, as also energy-related projects.
India has objected to the corridor as a part of it runs through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The decision to abolish the authority was in line with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s policy that opposed a parallel setup to carry out projects under the corridor, according to PTI.
On Thursday, Iqbal said that the ministry will seek Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s approval to wind up the authority.
“It is a redundant organisation with a huge waste of resources which has thwarted speedy implementation of the CPEC,” he said, according to The Express Tribune.
The minister held the new government’s first meeting on the status of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor on Wednesday. During the meeting, officials reportedly told him that more than 37% of the capacity of the power projects under the initiative was non-functional as payments to Chinese investors were pending.
On April 14, Sharif had said that his government will take the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor forward with more vigour and efficiency, which would benefit both China and Pakistan, according to PTI.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, had praised Sharif’s “positive comments”.
“We will continue to work with the new Pakistani administration to have close communication at different levels and add new impetus into our bilateral cooperation and to build CPEC with high standards in a sustained manner,” he had said.