CPEC halted funds: China's veiled support to Pakistan Army

ANI | Updated: Dec 12, 2017 19:01 IST

Beijing [China], Dec.12 (ANI): China's decision to redraft criteria for the funding of three roads which form part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, is likely to benefit the Pakistan military's engineering and construction company, Frontier Works Organisation, a Huffington Post report has said.

Chinese support for Pakistan and its military brass has long been evident with its repeated veto in the UN Security Council of US, European and Indian efforts to get Masood Azhar, a prominent Pakistani militant designated as a global terrorist. Azhar is believed to have close ties to Pakistani intelligence and the military, writes Senior fellow S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, James M. Dorsey.

China's decision to temporarily halt the supply of funds with respect to the construction of three roads is more that what meets the eye.

Beijing has cited its concern over corruption in the CPEC projects as the reason for the move, but apparently it is "an effort to enhance the Pakistani military's stake in the country's economy at a time when the armed forces are flexing their political muscle."

"The suspension of funding has coincided with apparent efforts by the military to increase its political sway by supporting militant and hard-line Sunni Muslim groups opposed to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N) headed by disgraced former prime minister Nawaz Sharif," writes Dorsey.

Dealing with the tricky political fabric, a series of events are unfolding in the country.

While, 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed on December 2 had announced that he would contest general elections in 2018, former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had in November announced the formation of a grand political alliance.

Chinese backing for a more prominent role of the military in economic and political life comes amid increased Pakistani scrutiny of the CPEC.

Greater military involvement in the CPEC would weaken China's critics and enhance Chinese confidence in Pakistan's ability to tackle security concerns, writes Dorsey.

China, Pakistan's close ally, has temporarily stopped the funding of few projects particularly those related to the road network under the China Pakistan Economic Corridoe (CPEC) till further decision regarding 'new guidelines' to be issued from Beijing.

The CPEC is intended to rapidly modernise Pakistan's infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.

According to the piece, Beijing is exploiting its massive investment in the Belt and Road which is an effort to link Eurasian infrastructure to China, to shape the political environment in key countries in its authoritarian mould. (ANI)