Former Pakistan ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani has claimed that China is not in Pakistan to help its people but to rather act as a 'predatory economic' actor. Haqqani has stated that Pakistani citizens who are often told that China is their most 'reliable friend' in the world, it is a shock for them to discover that Beijing does business 'mercilessly' and 'unscrupulously.'
The former ambassador has claimed that Pakistan's desire to maintain strategic relations with China has resulted in the construction of USD 62 billion worth China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which includes a set of infrastructure projects, being mired in insufficient transparency. Haqqani revealed that a committee formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan to examine the cause for the high cost of electricity to consumers in Pakistan has lifted the lid on corruption involving Chinese private power producers in Pakistan.
"The report reveals that the Huaneng Shandong Ruki Energy or the Sahiwal and the Port Qasim Electric Power Company Limited coal plants under CPEC inflated their set-up costs," ANI quoted Haqqani, who was Pakistan's ambassador from 2008 to 2011. He added that PM Khan's committee has also listed malpractices to the tune of 100 billion Pakistani rupees in the independent power generating sector, out of which, at least a third of it is related to Chinese projects. Writing a column for a US daily, Haqqani also mentioned the close ties between CPEC and Pakistan military and named LT General Bajwa which has led to the Committee treading softly in relation to Chinese projects.
"Instead of reforming their country's policies, Pakistan leaders, once again, sought debt restructuring and waivers on account of the pandemic, just as they previously sought international assistance as a reward for fighting terrorism. But expecting the international community to repeatedly bail Pakistan out from one economic crisis after the other is unrealistic. Massive military expenditure, deep-rooted corruption and lack of accountability are at the heart of Pakistan's perennial and ever-widening gulf between revenue and expenditure," Haqqani opined.
Haqqani has highlighted that based on the committee's report, excess set-up cots of 32.64 billion Pakistani Rupees was allowed to two coal-based Chinese plants due to misrepresentation by sponsors regarding the 'Interest During Construction' (IDC) as well as non-consideration of earlier completion of plans. He explained that the interest deduction was apparently allowed for 48 months whereas the plans actually completed with 27-29 months. Haqqani added that the magnitude of profiteering by Chinese companies is incomprehensible.