Islamabad : China has reportedly withheld funding of some key China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) road projects in Pakistan over corruption-related concerns. In an indirect warning to Islamabad, Beijing has forwarded a come clean message. Pakistan’s Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has confirmed this. The Dawn quoted Iqbal, as saying that Beijing has stopped funding the projects till such time as the revision of its ‘financial mechanism’ is done by Beijing.Iqbal said he has informed the 25th parliamentary committee on the CPEC on this. The minister, however, failed to address concerns raised by committee members over the scrapping of the previous financial mechanism agreed by both countries. It has been reported that China’s move to stop funding some CPEC projects has had an adverse impact. The decision could affect over Rs. one trillion worth of road projects undertaken by the National Highway Authority (NHA). At least three road projects are likely to experience delay.They include the 210-km Dera Ismail Khan-Zhob Road (estimated cost of Rs 81 billion), the 110-km Khuzdar-Basima Road project (estimated cost Rs. 19.76 billion) and the 136-km remaining portion of Karakarom Highway (KKH) from Raikot to Thakot (estimated cost Rs. 8.5 billion).An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Beijing is reportedly disturbed over news reports of corruption in CPEC projects, and therefore, is citing this as one of the reasons for stopping release of funds.
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