The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday rubbished reports that Beijing had halted payments on any of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in the country.
FO Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal, during a weekly briefing, said there was no news from Beijing that the Chinese government was halting funding for any of the projects, adding that execution of payments takes place in specific manner.
The FO's denial comes days after Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal had said that China had halted the release of funds for three CPEC projects till the revision of its 'financial mechanism' by Beijing,
According to an official press release issued by National Assembly Secretariat on December 11, Iqbal informed the 25th parliamentary committee meeting on CPEC that the Chinese side was reviewing the financial mechanism of these projects and work on them would restart after receiving approval from Beijing.
Iqbal could not convince the committee members as to why the Chinese government had opted for a new financial mechanism and scrapped the previous one which was agreed upon by both countries.
It was also reported that China had temporarily stopped funding some projects, particularly those related to the road network under CPEC, till a further decision on ‘new guidelines’ by Beijing.
When contacted at the time, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Umar, who is also a member of the parliamentary committee, had said that he had raised the issue of suspension of Chinese funds at the meeting, which was chaired by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed.
The members, he had said, were informed that China was revising the infrastructure projects under its "financial review".
Another member of the committee, Al-Haj Gul Khan Afridi, had said they were told that China had not stopped financing the CPEC projects but raised some 'technical objections' to three National Highways Authority (NHA) road projects. A team of Chinese experts would arrive in the country soon to inspect the three NHA projects, he added.
However, a senior NHA official rejected the government claim that work on the three road projects of the authority had been halted on technical grounds.
“It is not true that China raised objections to the projects because these had already been approved at the 6th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting held last year,” he had told Dawn at the time.