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International relations

China-backed coal projects raise heat in Pakistan

Lack of disclosure on Belt and Road plans spurs environmental fears

China-backed coal plants are helping to provide Pakistan with much-needed power but they are also raising environmental concerns locally.   © Reuters

ISLAMABAD -- The environmental impact of China-led coal-fired power generation projects in Pakistan is once again a hot topic of debate, weeks after a meeting of government officials from both sides.

A raft of Chinese power projects, including coal-fired ones, have begun to ease the acute electricity shortages that dogged Pakistan's industries and consumers until five years ago. At one point, power cuts lasted for more than half a day in the country's major cities. Now, blackouts have been reduced by half or even more, according to a government official.

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