Imran likely to seek more loans in upcoming China trip

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Imran Khan will visit China from February 3 to February 5 during which he will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics and meet Chinese leaders….reports Asian Lite News

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to visit China next month to reinforce their strategic ties and to advance economic and trade relations between the two countries.

This China visit, which is taking place after nearly two years, will provide an opportunity for both sides to have a look at the state of bilateral cooperation and discuss more projects.

“The visit will reinforce the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between our two countries, and further advance the objective of building a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era,” said Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar at a media briefing.

Imran Khan will visit China from February 3 to February 5 during which he will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics and meet Chinese leaders.

Aside from these engagements, media reports are saying that Imran Khan is expected to be used to seek a USD 10 billion loan from China, request for payments for trade and revival of Pak-China Investment Company Ltd.

The Pak PM would try to leverage his trip to seek funding for improvement in social sectors and industrial development to show his achievements back home, before the upcoming elections in the country.

Imran Khan’s visit comes at a time when the Pakistan economy is currently facing a severe financial crisis. Pakistani people are losing faith in the ruling PTI government due to inflation, depreciation of its currency and dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

Moreover, the PTI is also facing a credibility crisis as Chinese assistance in CPEC is not bringing the economic and social transformation in the country as it was projected.

Amid these immense challenges, experts believe that even if China gives an assurance of USD 10 billion of additional loans, it would only add to Pakistan’s debt stock and service obligations.

Promoting CPEC despite fading belief

After dealing with China for many years Pakistan’s ruling elite has discovered that it cannot replace the US, meanwhile Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team continue to promote the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor terming it “beneficial to the country”, said Dr Shabir Choudhry in his blog.

The Pakistanis believe that China is a good neighbour with some common interests with Islamabad, and that relationship should continue, but Pakistan’s ruling elite has many more things in common with America and the West.

China has been involved in the development of the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea as part of a USD 60 billion CPEC under Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure project. According to Dr Choudhry, a writer and an activist from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), China with its military and economic power will not let the CPEC die, as it is fundamental to the success of the BRI.

It must be noted that the BRI is very carefully planned and ruthlessly executed by China to achieve its ambition of becoming a great military and economic power which enables it to call economic, military and strategic shots in certain areas of the world.

“Now, Imran Khan and his team are propagating that the CPEC is beneficial to Pakistan and that they will start the CPEC with new determination. Also, they will restart the “one window” service for all the CPEC operations, which was established by Nawaz Sharif. In view of the Pakistani analysts, Beijing is not inclined to meet Imran Khan or discuss anything related to the CPEC. The best the Chinese leadership can do is to “honour Pakistan” by having a photo session with Imran Khan,” Dr Shabir Choudhry wrote on January 27.

The blogger also said that it will be foolish for Pakistan to put all eggs in Beijing’s basket, which has different culture, aspirations and future ambitions, as that may not be inconsonant with the lifestyle, culture and agenda of the ruling elite of the country.

He pointed out that two major attacks last year angered the Chinese, one was the attack on a bus carrying the Chinese workers from the Dasu hydropower plant in July 2021. The other incident was an attack on a hotel in Quetta in April, where the Chinese envoy was also staying during his visit to Balochistan.

China was furious that their workers, despite many promises of fool proof security, were not safe in Pakistan. They demanded better security arrangements and compensation for the killed and injured employees. Pakistan, in principle, has agreed to pay compensation for the dead and injured employees, but no compensation plan is finalised yet.

However, in a recent meeting with Nong Rong, China’s envoy, General Bajwa reiterated Pakistan’s strong commitment to provide full security to the Chinese workers, and ensure that there will be a “safe and secure environment” for employees of all CPEC projects. (ANI)

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