China has reportedly barred Pakistan from disclosing the amount of financial aid given during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden official visit to the country. According to a report in Pakistan-based Express News, Imran himself confirmed that Beijing had asked his government to keep the amount under wraps.
The report said that China’s directive to Pakistan to not disclose the amount was compelled by the concerns of “regional partners” of Beijing.
The same was revealed as the Pakistan Prime Minister briefed the federal cabinet on his China visit. Imran reportedly told the cabinet that his visit was “more successful than expected”. He also said that China had assured “every kind of assistance” to Pakistan.
Conflicting reports had emerged during Imran’s China visit on the financial assistance or aid given by Beijing to Islamabad. While earlier reports said that China had assured a sum of $6 billion, some media reports later quoted senior Chinese officials as saying that “more talks” would be needed for finalising the aid.
Notably, Pakistan had in October received $6 billion rescue package from Saudi Arabia. However, officials said that despite the Saudi and the Chinese financial aid, Pakistan would still approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to a bailout to emerge out of the financial crisis.
Pakistan's foreign reserves have plunged 42 percent since the start of the year and now stand at about $8 billion, or less than two months of import cover.
Lauding the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Pakistani Prime Minister had said that the his “vision and leadership is a role model”. He had also said that no other country had tackled poverty and corruption the way China did.
Xi had also hailed the new leadership of Pakistan, saying that the ties between the two countries had “now gained momentum”. While welcoming Imran Khan, he said, “Pakistan China relations have already been strengthening, and now gained momentum. The relationship has not only benefited the two countries but also the region.”