CPEC Photograph:( Reuters )
PM Imran Khan is now facing heat from the opposition because his own officials are in the dock. Two advisers of Imran Khan are allegedly beneficiaries of government subsidies.
China is failing in Pakistan. Most investors think twice before funding projects in Pakistan.
Corruption, terrorism, violence and security concerns make Pakistan a deadly destination but China has kept pumping money to lay its debt trap.
In January, the ground was broken for the first SEZ titled Allama Iqbal Industrial City in Faisalabad in Punjab province. However, the SEZ plan faces delays due in part to the fact that participating Chinese companies are expecting difficulties in managing human and material resources amid pandemic restrictions resulting in production delays and higher costs.
Now, the strategy may be backfiring. China's projects in Pakistan have been stalled due to rampant corruption and violent attacks. PM Imran Khan is now facing heat from the opposition because his own officials are in the dock.
PM Imran Khan wants to be known as a crusader against corruption whether it was the Sharifs or the Bhutto Zardaris, Khan has been relentless in his crackdown but the selected prime minister has been selective in his clampdown.
Imran Khan hasn't gone after the corrupt officials in his own team with the same enthusiasm. It began with lieutenant general Asim Saleem Bajwa - the pizza general who still remains the chairman of CPEC.
Fresh reports now indicate more dirty hands could be in the mix. Two advisers of Imran Khan are allegedly beneficiaries of government subsidies. The securities and exchange commission of Pakistan conducted an enquiry. It found irregularities worth over $1.8 billion in government subsidies. They were given to 16 independent power producers including Razak Dawood and Nadeem Baber Baber.
The same report accuses two Chinese companies of inflating their costs to set up coal plants which is the same kind of corruption that Imran Khan promised to put a stop to when he took charge.
In 2018, when Imran Khan assumed office, he issued an order. Several CPEC projects were put on hold allegedly over the suspicion of corruption but since the inner circle of Imran Khan has been named in graft complaints progress on CPEC has stalled.
Violent attacks on Chinese investments and limits on borrowing have added to Islamabad's troubles almost a month ago, 14 security personnel were killed in Gwadar. The city where China is building the deepest seaport in the world.
The outbreak of the Wuhan virus has caused further delays. The pandemic is hurting Pakistan's plans to build special economic zones with China's help. Reports say Chinese companies are facing production delays.
Managing human and material resources is proving to be a struggle for the Pakistan government alongside inflated bills. The opposition faced with a barrage of corruption lawsuits is now breathing down Imran Khan's neck.
They accused the prime minister of not expediting key infrastructure projects with China. Imran Khan is struggling to get things back on track. It won't come as a surprise if Beijing decides to dial the Pakistani military for help.