Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has approved, in principle, to abolish the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority, with sources saying Islamabad was daunted by the slow pace of the multi-billion-dollar project.
Pakistan will first take China into confidence before going ahead with the move, said the sources.
The decision was made on the basis of a summary that the planning and development ministry had moved two months ago.
CPEC is a central part of the Belt and Road Initiative, under which Beijing has pledged over $60 billion for infrastructure projects in Pakistan, much of it in the form of loans.
The ministry said it would be important to wrap up the body that had remained controversial since its inception.
This ministry summary also said that CPEC projects were facing delays because of China and the change in taxation policies by the previous Pakistan government in violation of commitments given to Beijing.
The Imran Khan-led government had last year withdrawn the sales tax exemption on imports.
As per the initial CPEC plan, special economic zones (SEZs) were supposed to be ready by 2020, but there has been zero progress on them in the last four years, said sources.
They added that China is also delaying CPEC, sometimes in the name of security and other reasons.