Quoting the case of a huge increase in the cost of up-gradation of railway projects from Karachi to Peshawar, she said, “CPEC’s most expensive
single project is upgrading the railway from Karachi to Peshawar. When the project was initially announced, the price was set at $8.2 billion. In October of 2018, Pakistan’s railway’s minister announced that they had negotiated the price down to
$6.2 billion, a saving of two billion. And he explained Pakistan is a poor country. We cannot afford this huge burden of these loans. But recent media reports claim the price has now risen to $9 billion. So, why doesn’t the Pakistani public know the
price for CPEC’s most expensive project or how it’s being determined? Lack of transparency in CPEC project could increase project costs and foster corruption, resulting in a heavier debt burden for the country.”
CPEC was conceived as integrated and an extension
of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative. The project proposed to be executed in three phases from 2014 to 2030 – short-term projects are estimated to be completed by 2017, midterm-term by 2025, and the long-term by 2030. The overall
construction costs are estimated at $46 billion. It is the network of highways, railways, and pipelines to transport oil and gas. The first phase comprises development at Gwadar Port and the construction of an international airport. The Karakoram Highway connecting
the two countries will also be widened, while the rail network between Peshawar in the north and Karachi in southern Pakistan will be upgraded. The two countries also have a plan of fiber-optic communication links.