Massive Chinese investment is a boon for Pakistan

NEVER mind that the two countries’ slogan factory has always been based in China, or that it started off with some truly clunky products. What matters is that Communist China and Pakistan have a joint venture churning out declarations of friendship that date back almost to the two states’ respective founding, some seven decades ago. China and Pakistan have long hailed each other as “all-weather friends”, or “iron brothers” as close as “lips and teeth”. The mutual bond is, leaders from both countries affirm, “higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the deepest ocean, and sweeter than honey”.

And then, from China, come the lover’s gifts. Never has Pakistan been so wooed. The original promised dowry, of $46bn in Chinese grants and soft loans for infrastructure projects, has only grown, to $62bn. This munificence is dubbed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), launched amid fanfare in 2015, on a visit to Pakistan by President Xi Jinping.

Most of the money is...

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