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PM visit to China

The PM proceeded to China and arrives back to Islamabad, he was there to discuss issues of regional and bilateral importance with the Chinese leadership. Topmost on the list of the regional issues is Kashmir where crackdown has entered a third month. The US-Taliban talks remain suspended after Trump called them off last month. Pakistan and India meanwhile remain in a state of confrontation. India has protested to China after the latter’s envoy in Islamabad supported Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir.
There is a need to learn how Beijing tries to settle its disputes with other countries. China employs peaceful means for resolution of disputes while concentrating fully on its economic and social development. Pakistan on the other hand has neglected its economy and given little importance to social development while fighting two full-fledged wars that further weakened its economy.
PM Imran Khan’s China visit comes amidst reports of CPEC slow down. Deadlines fixed by the PTI government have invariably been missed. It has taken the administration more than a year to decide to make the CPEC Authority operational.
The government needs to concentrate on removing the causes that have delayed the implementation of vital projects. A major cause is the failure to apportion funds in the budget for the CPEC related tasks that Pakistan was supposed to carry out. Progress on the Gwadar Airport thus remains constrained due to the failure to provide water and electricity supply.
Encouraged by the government’s fixation to pursuing corruption cases against its political opponents, NAB has shown keenness to probe CPEC affairs. This has discouraged the planning ministry’s bureaucracy from processing the upgradation of the Main Line-I (ML-I) project of Pakistan Railways that, among other things, was to create 190,000 jobs. The files continue to move from one ministry to another as the intimidating $8 billion price tag discourages government officials from signing a summary that could land them in jail.
Federal Minister Khusro Bakhtiar wants to offer new projects to China that also include Pakistan Steel Mills and 7,000-megawatt Bunji hydropower project. Unless the government first removes the causes that have delayed CPEC projects, this will only add more to the long list of incomplete schemes.

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