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China only worried about CPEC,not Nawaz Sharif's future

ANI  |  New Delhi [India 

As the much anticipated findings of the joint investigation team (JIT) have implicated the Prime Minister and his family in the Panama gate Case and his disqualification and ouster is becoming inevitable day by day, his biggest friend and ally is not concerned about him, but only concerned about the 'One Belt, One Road (OBOR)' initiative, that includes China-Economic Corridor (CPEC) as its "flagship" project.

As being widely reported in the Pakistani media, "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's disqualification or imprisonment by the full bench sounds like the writing on the wall for not only concealing assets, but also for failing to reveal their sources of and presenting a fake money trail," the political situation in has become fluid and volatile making upset about future of the China-Economic Corridor (CPEC).

"is upset as the situation arises due to the Panamagate JIT as political instability in is the major risk to China-Economic Corridor (CPEC)," A B Mahapatra, Director of CASS-India told ANI in an exclusive conversation.

As the political situation in has become fluid and if the PM Nawaz is compelled to resign or dissolve the assembly or even if there is a change of leadership, would be looking at only from a business point of view and will engage with who so ever occupies the central leadership as Beijing just believes in the business first.

PM has also lost Chinese leaders faith because, "Some differences have emerged between Sharif and Chinese leadership: first on the issue of Karakoram toll tax collection and second on the tariff related to the coal power plants which is constructing there. These issues emerged as major irritants in Sino-Pak relationship in the month of May in Beijing when Pakistani officials met Chinese leaders," says Mahapatra.

According to Mahapatra, "is upset with PM as Beijing has been dragged into for charging higher tariff for the power plants".

is of the view that when their government is providing security to the Chinese projects with manpower and maintenance support and also giving compensation to the owners of land that are being taken for the projects, then they are lawfully entitled to receive toll tax of the Karakoram Highway. But contends that since it had built the Karakoram Highway in 1970s and is financing the current projects, they should receive the toll tax.

is engaged in building several Roads, Railway and the power projects under which includes the Khunjerab railway, a high-altitude line that would run roughly alongside the Karakoram and link north-eastern with the Chinese city of Kashgar, which has become the present bone of contention.

Another irritant in their relationship is the tariff related to the coal power plants which is constructing in and the matter has been moved to the

There are 17 energy projects being completed under the including the Port Qasim coal plant in Sindh and ZTE Energy PV power plant in Punjab.

The National Energy Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) had approved tariff for the project at 71 paise/unit, while the government's Private Power Infrastructure Board had filed a review petition on the tariff in order to address Chinese investors' concerns who were demanding 95 paise/unit.

Minister for Planning and Development in the Pak government Ahsan Iqbal and Planning Commission Secretary Yousuf Nadeem Khokhar, who are the two point persons of Prime Minister Nawaz for projects, have expressed concern over the fixing of power tariff for CPEC-related power projects by the Chinese.

However, Chinese leadership is not much impressed by the mere expression of such concerns by the PM Nawaz's team and expected better handling of the issue by his government.

is also not worried by the possibility of change of guard in Pakistan, which is facing serious internal security threat from the various jihadi groups including Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP), because depends 80% on Army and 20% on the civilian government for the fulfilment of their economic and strategic interests.

has entered into a deal with Army to provide security to the projects and General Qamar Javed Bajwa has ensured to provide fool-proof security to the said projects.

Observers in Islamabad believe that will gradually become a colony of and the civilian leadership should refrain from falling into the debt trap of Beijing as has offered massive loans at six per cent interest rates to Pakistan, excluding insurance cost which is far higher than what is being offered by the financial institutions. will have to cough up $2billion to annually to repay the loans.

is of vital strategic importance to to fulfil its ambition of reviving the ancient Silk Road (21st-century Maritime Silk Road) trading routes through its "One Belt- One Road," will remain benevolent towards as Pakistan's geographical location helps to enlarge its sphere of influence in Afghanistan, Central Asian Republics and to increase connectivity between the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, no matter who leads the country.

It's also obvious that any government of cannot live without having the full support of whether it is ruled by Nawaz or by Military.

"is also keeping an eye on imaginary external threat like India, as it considers that will come to their rescue if India acts militarily against them and while Islamabad has antagonized Afghanistan, therefore will always try to keep friendship with Beijing intact," Dr Ashok Behuria, South Asian expert working with New Delhi based Indian Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) said while talking to ANI.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, July 15 2017. 19:48 IST
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