An All-Parties Conference (APC) on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was held recently in Islamabad to address the concerns of opposition parties over details of the project and share of each province. The Federal Government claims that the project is completely transparent and fair; but has as far failed in addressing the concerns of many quarters.
There have already been claims of bids being handed out to the second lowest bidder on the Western route. Irregularities have also been alleged in award of Rs148bn 230-kilometre section of the Karachi-Lahore Motorway project and recently it came to light that the government has declared financial close worth $1.9 billion of a 1,320MW coal-based power project near Karachi without completing prerequisites which may expose the nation to massive liabilities. The secrecy and conflicting statements from the Government regarding the project were already a serious concern, however, the above mentioned irregularities in have raise even more grave concerns regarding transparency in the projects under CPEC.
If the protest and concerns of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan Governments were not enough Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) chapter has also planned to go to court for ignoring the region in the multibillion-dollar project. The confusion regarding the project is not just prevalent in the KP, Balochistan and GB leadership, even the leadership of PMLN seems confused about the project. Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif a few weeks ago reportedly said that the $1.46 billion Lahore Orange Line Metro is being implemented under CPEC; however a few days ago Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal while speaking to a new channel rejected the impression that the Orange Line Metro is implemented under CPEC.
PMLN leadership itself seems confused about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.