Don’t slander CPEC Ask IMF, WB for write offs


OUTGOING US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells, in her farewell media briefing once again raised questions on the viability of multibillion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. In the past also one has seen the US, especially Alice Wells, expressing similar views about the corridor project, describing it detrimental to Pakistan’s economy which indeed is contrary to facts and nothing to do with reality.
One may understand that the US opposition to the CPEC stems from its larger trade tussle with China, but the truth is that the mega corridor project has proved to be a real blessing for Pakistan. China came to Pakistan for investment when nobody else was willing to do so owing to precarious security situation. Then a few years back, Pakistan was faced with prolonged power outage and it was the power projects under the CPEC which helped Pakistan overcome its energy shortage and run the wheels of its economy also through removing bottlenecks in its road infrastructure projects. Today the country has a state-of-the-art road infrastructure in the form of motorways and expressways because of the Chinese investment and assistance. The second phase of CPEC is anticipated to trigger an industrial revolution in Pakistan with cooperation in agriculture sector will also benefit it to strengthen its economy. In the press briefing, Alice Wells once again termed the CPEC related debt unsustainable and hoped that China will join in either waiving off debt or negotiating loans amidst Coronavirus pandemic. Firstly, Pakistan is seeking debt relief from G-20 countries to offset the negative fallout of the contagion on its economy. China is the friend which has always provided support to Pakistan in the hour of trial and one saw it most recently when it provided and continues to provide much-needed medical equipment to the country to fight Coronavirus. We are confident that when both China and Pakistan will sit together on the debt rescheduling or restructuring, the Chinese leadership will be forthcoming to it more than any other country. If the US really feels the pain of Pakistanis during these difficult times, then it should use its control on the IMF and the World Bank to get Pakistani loans waived off from these financial institutions. This will be the most major relief for Pakistan and the people of Pakistan will always remain obliged to this generous gesture on the part of the US.