Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng arrived in Pakistan on Sunday on a three-day visit, where he will attend a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, Dawn reported. Celebrations will be held for the controversial CPEC project despite the economic crisis prevailing in Pakistan due to mounting Chinese debt in the country. During his visit to Pakistan, Lifeng will also hold meetings with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Dr Arif Alvi.
Significantly, CPEC is a major project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). According to CNN, Beijing’s international infrastructure investment program, known as the BRI, was established by China’s Xi Jinping in 2013 to rebuild China’s Silk Road, a trade and economic hub. Used to connect Asia with Africa and Europe to promote development. Every year, billions of dollars are poured into infrastructure projects in this effort, including building ports from Sri Lanka to West Africa, building motorways from Papua New Guinea to Kenya, and provision of electricity and telecommunications infrastructure for people in Latin America. America and Southeast Asia.
In 2019, Italy became the only major Western country and the only country in the G7 group of advanced economies to join the BRI. Quoting Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, Dawn reported that Lifeng has played a “major role” in China’s international economic relations and the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. The Foreign Office had said that while serving as chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission from 2017 to 2023, he “played a key role in the planning and execution of several CPEC projects in Pakistan”.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar project, was launched in 2013 and was soon touted as a major expansion of the Belt and Road initiative. Pakistanis hoped that this new development program would bring about change and turn the country into a regional centre. However, the investment has only had a weak impact on the South-Asian country. Balochistan, a poor province with significant mineral potential, is bearing the brunt of CPEC projects being built in its region without any expectation of financial benefits. This sense of exclusion has fueled a large-scale insurgency in Balochistan against the CPEC. Pakistan’s economic problems have deepened in recent years, with some critics citing CPEC investment as the main reason.