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Pakistan

Chinese official denies ‘delay, suspension’ on CPEC projects in Pakistan

  • The statement from Chinese official came after reports emerged that projects in Gwadar had been suspended or stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic and over financing disputes.
  • "It is true that COVID-19 had some negative impact on some projects but I can tell you that on CPEC projects, not a single CPEC project is suspended or delayed."
Updated 23 Feb 2021

A top Chines official has denied media reports and statements by Pakistan lawmakers that work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects was delayed or suspended in Balochistan province.

The statement from Chinese official came after reports emerged that projects in Gwadar had been suspended or stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic and over financing disputes.

Chairman of the China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC), which operates Gwadar port, talking to Arab News said, “It is true that COVID-19 had some negative impact on some projects but I can tell you that on CPEC projects, not a single CPEC project is suspended or delayed.”

“In fact I am happy to report that many projects have already been completed ahead of their scheduled time frame, including the Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute at Gwadar, at a cost of $10 million, that would be handed over by the end of June instead of by the end of the year,” Baozhong added.

Baozhong said the China was “very serious” about the completion of CPEC projects as per agreed upon timelines, including a new Gwadar International Airport.

He said that the new ambassador of China to Pakistan, especially visited Gwadar and held meetings with contractors at serious note. “He seriously instructed all contractors to manage to speed up the work on the project and try to complete the projects at the anticipated timeline.”

It is worth to mention here that Gwadar, in Balochistan, is the crown jewel of China’s $60 billion investment in Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in Pakistan.

The costliest project to date under the CPEC agreement has reportedly run into trouble, with Beijing reluctant to fund the project at the one percent rate demanded by Islamabad.

As for $19 billion worth of energy projects in Pakistan to 11,648MW electricity, only four projects so far have been completed.

Delay in getting land in the port city is also the reason behind slowed down work on Gwadar Free Zone and Gwadar Eastbay Expressway.