The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)- a big part of Belt and Road is a four plus one formula having in numerous projects worth US$62 billion and covers about 70 countries so far. It is currently in touch with the four components/pillars, highways, railways, Industries pipelines and fifth is the CPEC itself, linking the city of Kashgar- located in the Xinjiang province of China to Gwadar in Pakistan.
Moreover, It has three alignments, Western, Central and Eastern. In its Western Alignment there lies Khunjrab, Burhan, DI Khan, Zhob, Quetta, Surab and Hoshab. In Central Alignment, Khunjrab, Burhan, Pindi Gheb, Kot Addu, DG khan, Rajanpur, Wangu Hills, Khuzdar, Basima, Hoshab and Khunjrab, Thakot, Manshera, Burhan, Pindi Bhatiyan, Faislabad are linked to its Eastern Alignment. It’s some targets which would be achieved in near future are
1st Target 2020: Period of market cultivation, major bottlenecks to Pakistan’s economic and social development.
2nd Target 2025: Period of expansion and development especially of manufacturing.
3rd Target 2030: Period of maturity ML1, connecting with Iran, Afghanistan and in Pakistan connecting Western and Eastern Corridor.
CPEC- A Game Changer:
CPEC is the centerpiece of China’s BRI vision and it is worth mentioning here that it is one of the most important, game-changing projects ever undertaken in the history of Pakistan. Both countries are now jointly collaborating towards the unified development of CPEC projects for the economic and social development of some of their most underserved regions.
CPEC is expected to bring about improvements in six major areas:
1. US$62 billion would boost GDP growth rate to 608 percent
2.Ensure energy security while overcoming the prevailing energy crisis
3.Bolster Pakistan’s industrial capacity
4.Strengthen Pakistan’s domestically bringing in prosperity
5.Enable the transfer of knowledge and technology through widespread interaction withChinese and other international experts
6.Link Pakistan’s rural and remote areas with its urban centers
Another East India Company?
Statements like that the project has launched to colonize Pakistan comes on media very often and Chinese government is even aware of these declarations. The ultimate aim of the Chinese enterprises and thousands of their employees who have entered the country has a historical precedence- the British East India Company that came in the 18th century to trade but stayed on to rule. Through the project, China is concentrating on achieving its aim of global domination while using Pakistan because of its geographical location and without any interest in promoting its progress. China presents the clarity wherever it confronts and the rest is that people need to go in depth before finalizing any point of view. All we need is to set up the regulatory framework which ensures the local initiatives and concerns.
Pakistan already owes China more than 6 billion dollars, such kind of debt gives China some kind of grip over the nation. It has already done to give debts to other states and push them into cash-strapped. Now China is defending its billions of dollars of historic investment in Pakistan, and dismissed allegations that the economic corridor is pushing the South Asia ally into a “Chinese debt trap.”
But, China took control of the strategic deep-sea port of Gwadar and now Chinese Military is building a joint naval and air force base for Chinese troops which has a short distance to the Gwadar port. Pakistan is paying high interest rates on those loans and Pakistan’s government promised crazy high returns on these projects like 34 percent each year for 30 years.
China at present has trapped Sri Lanka, Montenegro, Maldives, Djibouti. Is Pakistan its new target? In addition, PwC- Price water house Coopers – a multinational professional services network headquartered in London, United Kingdom reported in 2017 which Country will have the strongest economy after 33 years and according to this report China will lead in 2050. It will be the biggest Country in this World in terms of Economy. It is taking steps towards gaining the domination.
There are some key goals of BRI and one is people to people bond, and in this regard technology is playing a role as a virtual bridge, we follow the western technology but China is very much under the one umbrella, it has its own technology and a separate network which is a hurdle in creating the people to people bond, now the question arises if we work on any alternative of that. In addition to this, there should be a joint project in future focusing on this main issue but Pakistani sectors have to understand the Chinese culture and their project methodology. Chinese are also moving from the Confucius model to the western model.
Furthermore, China is lending money to Pakistan for making the better infrastructure which would support China’s trade, economy and energy securities. Because of the agreement between China and Pakistan, Chinese population is day by day increasing in Pakistan, they are getting jobs, admissions and snatching Pakistanis’ right to job.
Moreover, It is often stated that China needs to invest its money in other nations in order to gain control over them and it sees Pakistan a nation where it can invest, make it under its control and trap it into dept. Has anyone ever thought what interests China is having in Pakistan? Why is it investing so much in this state? Is it all because of more than 60 years of friendship or is there any other reason behind it? Sending Chinese people to Pakistan for study and jobs will easily allow China to make its influence over the nation. But, CPEC is not something China has imposed on Pakistan, China needed a friend and an ally and Pakistan respected that.
Apart from this, while some states want to support and invest in CPEC others have concerns over it like, India, Chinese ships will get alternative sea routes to bypass Indian territory and Indian access to the Middle East and western world via sea route could be limited, China and Pakistan can keep an eye on Indian ships movement in Arabian Sea as China will get shortest access to global trading markets through Gwadar Port in Arabian Sea. Afghanistan- our neighbor has done collaborations with our worst enemy India, this all will create problems for Pakistan in future if half of the neighboring countries would go against it. With this project Pakistan is taking risk of losing friendly relations to many countries.
It is the geographical location of Pakistan which attracts and make others to investment or take it under control for economic benefits. If we see from the economic category wise then Pakistan’s trade balance has gone up but China still has larger base than Pakistan and to reach that level our country has to struggle hard. Pakistan is trying to deal with the negative narrative of CPEC, in order to eradicate it, the authentic information and a vast knowledge about the project is required.
To summarize, China should be taken as a game changer in positive connotation as CPEC is what Pakistan willed to happen and no one enforced it. The benefits by the project are more than its damages to the state and none of the state can penetrate into others land and seize if it doesn’t allow so.