Bouncing government cheques have led to work stoppages on road projects related to the $62bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship scheme of China’s Belt & Road Initiative.
Sources told Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper that seven contractors including Chinese firms have stopped work on CPEC projects after cheques worth over $38.7m (Rs5 billion) had bounced.
Stalled projects include Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan, Western Route of CPEC and all sections of Karachi-Lahore Motorway (pictured), Dawn reported.
The firms whose cheques have bounced include SKB, ZKB, Noman Construction, ACGC Chinese, Sardar Ashraf D Baloch, China Railway 17 Group, and Matracon, Dawn said.
A spokesman from Pakistan’s National Highways Authority confirmed that some cheques had not been cleared.
Spokesman Kashif Zaman said the matter had been taken up with the government and that, in Dawn’s words, "hopefully it would be resolved soon".
Zaman denied work had been stalled, and said most of the projects in question would be completed by December 2018.
CPEC is planned as a transformative transport-energy-industrial corridor stretching north-south from China’s western Xinjiang region to Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.
Formalised in 2015, its estimated total investment value rose last year from $55bn to $62bn.
Image, uploaded 19 May 2018, taken from Karachi-Lahore Motorway’s Facebook page