China has rejected the proposal of involving third-party contractors in Pakistan Railways $8.2b ML-I project. According to the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Communications, no third party will be involved as Beijing opposed the proposal of constructing the biggest CPEC project by involving them.
China took the stance that the project will be completed in accordance with the framework agreement. And Pakistan also agreed to the Chinese demand of going forward with the pre-decided arrangement.
Ministry of Planning and Development spokesman on CPEC affairs Hassan Daud said, “The financing model is dependent on finalization of the technical design, which has not yet been completed. Once the design is final, a decision can be made on the financing model.”
Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar said, “The government is exploring the possibility of completing the $9-billion ML-I project on build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.”
The ML-I project us strategically important to both Pakistan and China, thus according to the officials, it is not advisable to involve any third party in it. China is interested to complete the project quickly as it is already lagging behind the original schedule.
Both Pakistan and China leadership in a joint statement said that “as a signature project of the BRI, the fast development of CPEC has played a significant role in the Belt and Road cooperation.”