- In his recent interaction, President Xi Jinping pressed Prime Minister Shahbaz to “accelerate” the construction of necessary infrastructure in Gwadar port, indicating dismay from both the development and security perspectives.
- Though politico-bureaucratic delays and lack of inter-provincial coordination have generated lags in the progress of CPEC, worsening security is another important contributing factor.
- While the CPC harbours legitimate concerns about threats to CPEC and Chinese citizens, data shows the magnitude is grossly exaggerated.
- After the selection of Shahbaz Sharif as Prime Minister by the PDM coalition and a deadly female suicide bombing that killed a further three Chinese residents, Beijing doubled down hard and vowed not just to “safeguard” but “counter” threats to Chinese assets and interests with Pakistan’s assistance.
- Likewise, Chinese diplomatic and security authorities pushed overt engagement with multiple stakeholders in Pakistan.
- Beijing will not hesitate to help Islamabad out of a financial abyss, but it needs to see a sustained political-security framework of engagement.