China has for the time being stopped the funding of at least three road projects that were being implemented under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Dawn reported on Tuesday. The Pakistan government is waiting for Beijing to issue new guidelines, an unidentified senior government official told the newspaper.
The Chinese government is also said to be alarmed by news reports about corruption in the projects, according to Dawn.
The three projects that may face delays because of Beijing’s decision are the 210-km Dera Ismail Khan-Zhob Road, the 110-km Khuzdar-Basima Road, and 136 km stretch of the Karakarom Highway from Raikot to Thakot. However, the impact of China’s new finance guidelines is expected to be much wider than just these three projects.
China reportedly informed Pakistani officials of its decision in a November 20 meeting of the Joint Working Group. Beijing said that it was doing away with the existing procedure for release of funds under which six different fora had to approve a project.
The previous procedure, China told Pakistan, “was meant for early harvest projects only”, the unidentified official told Dawn. This indicates that the impact of the new procedures could affect projects worth over 1 trillion Pakistani rupees, the daily noted.