China was uncomfortable with Pakistan under Imran Khan: Reports

ISLAMABAD: Months later Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan was ousted as prime minister, the foreign ministry in Islamabad received a diplomatic cable from China, stating that they have offered to extend $2.3 billion at a greatly reduced interest rate, suggesting that Beijing was not happy with the former prime minister.
On June 10, China offered to extend $2.3 billion at a greatly reduced interest rate.
Publications such as ‘Pakistan Daily’ and ‘The News International’ leaked the communication between the Pakistani ambassador in Beijing and the Foreign Ministry, reporting that the Chinese leadership expressed a desire to work more comfortably with the new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif due to his past. experience with him when he was the Chief Minister of Punjab province, The Singapore Post reported.
But, it’s not just a one-way loathing, Chinese leaders also found Imran Khan to be a misfit in his position as head of government. Because Imran Khan, as prime minister, stood between China’s target behind the CPEC project and its implementation.
Notably, in 2015, when Nawaz Sharif was the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the CPEC was officially launched.
According to the publication, from the beginning, Khan was not happy with the Chinese-led project. The lack of transparency and the possibility of corruption that China could carry out through its CPEC projects would harm Pakistan and its interests, was Imran Khan’s main concern.
And this fear was expressed in categorical terms by Imran Khan’s former trade, textile, industry and production and investment adviser, Abdul Razak Dawood, in an interview with London’s Financial Times on September 9, 2018.
“The previous government did a poor job negotiating with China on CPEC: they didn’t do their homework properly and they didn’t negotiate properly, so they gave away a lot,” Abdul Razak Dawood, adviser to the then Pakistani prime minister during his interview with the Financial Times ago more than three years.
“Chinese companies received tax breaks, lots of breaks and they have an undue advantage in Pakistan, this is one of the things we are looking at because it is not fair that Pakistani companies are disadvantaged,” added Dawood.
He further said that the Pakistani government under Imran Khan would revise or renegotiate the agreements reached under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
However, after Dawood’s interview went viral, he issued a clarification on September 10, 2018, in which he emphasized that Pakistan’s commitment to CPEC would not change. Although this was a major U-turn by Imran Khan’s adviser, the general outlines of the Imran Khan government’s approach to the CPEC remained unchanged, according to the publication.
The CPEC Authority in a report released after Imran Khan stepped down as prime minister on April 11, said Pakistan would only be able to complete three projects in Gwadar, while a dozen projects costing almost $2 billion are unfinished. Interestingly, the CPEC Authority was created through an ordinance in 2019 by the then government headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, to show China that Pakistan would pick up the pace of CPEC-related activities.
Chinese authorities are not only pleased with the delay in the completion of CPEC projects, but also expressed frustration when Pakistan failed to stop attacks on Beijing citizens working in the South Asian country.
On July 14, 2021, 13 people, including 9 Chinese engineers, were killed in an explosion on a bus traveling in Pakistan’s western Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Even as the dust from this massive explosion failed to settle, Pakistan was rocked by an attack on Chinese citizens and interests. On August 20, 2021, at least two children were killed and one Chinese citizen was injured in a suicide attack in Gwadar.

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