China is keeping a close eye on the elections in Pakistan and the whole developments in the formation of a new government there. In fact, about 62 billion dollars of China’s stake in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is at stake. So China is worried that Nawaz’s party will not win, and if Imran comes to power, then what will happen to this project? Imran has criticized this project during the campaigning.
When China started its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative program, it felt that it would make a big difference in Pakistan and the Nawaz Sharif government would get stronger.
Prior to the dismissal of Sharif, Renmin University of China had stated in an internal assessment that the good progress of this CPC project can be done only in the Nawaz Sharif government. After the Panama Paper Revelations, the position of Nawaz was weakened and concerns were raised.
This report said, “If there is no exception, then the possibility of Sharif’s party PML-N coming back to power is more and the Government will be supported by the CPE.”
But now there have been many worrisome things for China. During the election campaign, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan had criticized the current government for lack of transparency and alleged corruption in several CPCSE projects.
Recently there have been many such reports that the Pakistan government has made extraordinary softness for this project. According to the Wall Street Journal’s July 22 report, in the CPEC project, Chinese electricity companies have been promised an annual return of 34 percent on their investment, which will be paid by the Pakistan government in dollars.
But now seeing the economic crisis in Pakistan, it can prove to be a major burden. On Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Minister said that whatever the outcome of the elections, his country will cooperate with the Government of Pakistan.