China would provide about $1 billion in soft loans for three new road projects along the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), connecting the “shortest route from Gwadar to China”, China Daily of Hong Kong reported quoting a senior Pakistan official.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said China would invest in new roads and factories to help smaller Pakistan provinces integrate into the project. “The eastern and western routes of CPEC should operate like two legs of a body,” he said.
“However, more investment and opportunities had gone into the eastern route, where most of the country’s industrial and financial units were located,” he said.
“The economically smaller provinces feel deprived and left out of the project,” he remarked. “CPEC is a national project after all and should improve the economy throughout the country.”
Shah was in Beijing for the sixth meeting of the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee on Thursday last week.
“It was for the first time that chief ministers of all Pakistani provinces were invited to discuss industrial cooperation,” he said.
Peking University’s Pakistan Studies Centre Director Tang Mengsheng suggested that China and Pakistan both needed a top-level government body to run CPEC projects and facilitate interconnectivity in policy, infrastructure, trade, currency and people.
Chinese Association for South Asian Studies Director Sun Shihai said the western route development would ensure a robust trade network as the bedrock of CPEC’s success.