ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has opened doors for China to have more influence and vistas in Pakistan by investing in various sections of business life and to open offices to achieve their targets.
This offer is taken as a big blow to local and small businesses, as the government has decided to allow Chinese companies to set up their regional offices in cash-strapped country. Furthermore, Pakistan has several expectations with the forthcoming visit of Chinese President to Islamabad most probably by the end of the year or early next year.
According to informed sources, China rescued Pakistan last month by lending one billion dollars which Islamabad paid back to Saudi Arabia as first instalment of 3 billion dollars loan and now has offered more investment keeping major share itself.
Pakistan is reportedly in negotiation with China to seek more money to pay back loan to the Kingdom but complete silence is being observed at both ends in this regard. Neither Beijing nor Islamabad had disclosed about the lending of one billion dollar last month and only source of disclosure was Reuters news agency.
“Chinese business houses should establish their regional offices in Pakistan,” Imran Khan said on Monday during a meeting with a delegation of 10 leading Chinese firms having business interests in sectors including energy, agriculture, financial sector and communication.
The Prime Minister assured the Chinese investors that his government would give highest priority to provision of all possible facilitations to Chinese investors. The decision comes even as Pakistan continues to battle with a crippling economy, which has been impacted further due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has a large amount of debt piled as a result of taking loans from other nations and international organisations for bailing itself out, but is struggling to pay them off.
The delegation, which participated in the meeting, comprised representatives of Power Construction Corporation of China (Power China), China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), China Gezhouba (Group) Pakistan, China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Company Ltd, China Railway Group Limited, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Machinery Engineering Corporation and China Mobile Pakistan Limited.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing and Haier CEO Javed Afridi were also present at the meeting held at PM House in Islamabad.
Minister for Communication Murad Saeed, Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood, chairman of the Board of Investment Atif R. Bokhari, Chairman of the CPEC Authority retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa also attended the meeting.