Lahore: Islamabad has cut the size of the biggest Chinese "Silk Road" project in Pakistan by $2 billion, over government concerns about the country's debt levels. 

Railways minister Sheikh Rasheed said, “Pakistan is a poor country that cannot afford the huge burden of the loans”. 

The mega project was initially priced at $8.2 billion, but a dispute over costs has led to a delay in constructing the line stretching 1,872 km (1,163 miles) from Karachi to the north-western city of Peshawar.

Prime minister Imran Khan’s new government seems to be more cautious about Chinese investment.

“We have reduced the loan from China under CPEC for rail projects from $8.2 billion to $6.2 billion," Rasheed added, referring to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The government, however, remains committed to the Karachi-Peshawar Main Line-1 (ML-1) project but wishes to reduce its cost from $6.2 billion to $4.2 billion.