News 12 september — 15:57

Pakistan: Belt and Road plan comes under controversy

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Pakistan has denied reports of renegotiating the terms of China's multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, but the controversy refuses to die down, Anadolu Agency reports.

On Sunday, the Financial Times reported the new government in Pakistan is concerned that the $64-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project unfairly benefits Beijing.

The CPEC project includes expansion of the Gwadar port in southern Pakistan, power plants, and road and rail networks.

The report quoted Abdul Razak Dawood, advisor on commerce and investment to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, as saying: "Chinese companies have received tax breaks, and have an undue advantage in Pakistan. This is one of the things we are looking at because it’s not fair that Pakistani companies are disadvantaged.”

Dawood, who had expressed his reservations on the project even before joining the new government last month, backtracked saying he was misquoted by the newspaper.

In a tweet, Dawood said he had assured Chinese authorities that CPEC “is a national priority”.

But his denial further simmered the controversy, following a series of hard-hitting statements from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders accusing the previous government of jailed ex-premier Nawaz Sharif of receiving kickbacks from the Chinese government.

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