China has ruled out giving hard cash to Pakistan, saying that it will invest in multiple sectors and launch business ventures instead of providing loans to the country faced with deepened financial crisis.
Last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan had visited China in an attempt to get an economic package from there to overcome his country’s failing economic condition. Upon his return from Beijing, his cabinet members boasted that the visit was the most successful and that it had helped reduce Islamabad’s dependence on the International Monetary Fund for a bailout.
A week later, finance minister Asad Umar announced that Pakistan’s balance of payment crisis was effectively resolved. “Of the $12 billion financing gap, $6 billion has come from Saudi Arabia and the rest from China,” Umar had told reporters and added that a high-level delegation would visit China to work out the modalities.
“Instead of hard cash, China plans to eventually provide multiple forms of bailout packages to Pakistan in the shape of phenomenal investments in fresh projects, broadening the area of inclusive cooperation and tapping new avenues of collaboration under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” Long Dingbin, the Chinese consul general in Lahore, told local TV station Geo News.
The interview, which was telecast on Sunday, was held in Lahore a few days after the November 23 storming of the Chinese consulate in the southern port city of Karachi. The attack was claimed by Baloch Liberation Army, an insurgent group that has been fighting the Pakistani state for over a decade now and that considers CPEC an illegal occupation of Balochistan.
Dingbin said China would never leave Pakistan in the lurch and would channelize maximum resources to strengthen its crippling economy.
The Chinese consul general said during Imran Khan’s trip to China, the two countries had signed 15 new agreements, which would lead to increased cooperation in politics and financial sector, and would also improve cultural ties.
Responding to a question about Pakistan’s increasing debt, Dingbin rejected the argument that CPEC contributed to the country’s debt burden. He said only four of the 22 projects launched under CPEC provided concessional loans while the rest were investment-based and would strengthen Pakistan’s economy.