Only few leaders of big Western countries will be attending China’s most talked about summit, on President Xi’s New Silk Road strategy next month in Beijing. List of attendees released by Foreign Minister Wang Yi contained only one leader, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentilon from the Group of Seven (G7) nations. Earlier, Wang was hoping of the presence of the Presidents of Russia and the Philippines, along with the Spanish, Greek, Hungarian, Serb and Polish Prime Ministers and Swiss and Czech Presidents. British finance minister Philip Hammond may come, while Germany and France have declined and will send high-level representatives only. Meanwhile, China seems to have ruffled feathers by claiming that New Silk Road is not political. However, it has run into opposition from India as origin of this belt is in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Wang dismissed those concerns, saying the Pakistan project had nothing to do with the dispute and India was welcome to participate in the New Silk Road.
Earlier also China was humiliated in 2015 in a similar manner, after most Western leaders rebuffed invitations to attend a big military parade of Beijing marking 70 years since the end of World War Two.
This setback has come at a time when there is also a constant criticism of Silk Road by many sections in Pakistan, so called all Weather Friend. Recent controversy has erupted over power tariffs, which will be the highest being paid by the citizens of any country in the region. This criticism comes in the middle of rumors that China has relocated its obsolete and highly polluting coal fired electricity plants to Pakistan. China will be charging a hefty compensation for its largesse. Pakistan Govt has also entered into a 10 year contract with a Chinese firm for operation and maintenance of the controversial Nandipur power project at the cost of $185million. The per unit cost works out about 80% higher than the rate allowed by NEPRA. The contract also requires the Chinese Company to hire at least 25% local workforce. It is silent on the rest 75% of workforce?
Mohammad Asif of Federal B Area in Pakistan was shocked to receive a bill Rs 2189028013/- from K- ELECTRIC. A comparison of power tariffs with the neighbor India is as below.
Delhi – Rs 08.75/Unit
IOK – Rs 03.20/Unit
Islamabad – Rs 15.00/Unit
POK – Rs 19.50/Unit
Some analysts are linking recent unprecedented unrest in Kashmir with China’s attempt to pressurize India not to raise Balochistan, Gilgit & Baltistan issue at the time of this important summit. At present there is a very heavy crack down on ordinary citizens of these area in garb of Radd-Ul-Fasad to show the world that the area is absolutely peaceful.