The CPEC is the most controversial of geopolitical projects of recent times. India has categorically opposed it because it runs through disputed territory.Pakistan claims that the CPEC is a game-changer for it and that the project in no way means China obtaining a firmer grip over Pakistan’s economic, military and cultural aspects. But, the truth seems contrary to this.
Here some facts presented by Dr Bengali, an economist in Pakistan, about the CPEC that aren’t spoken of in public domain –
- CPEC agreements haven’t been made public. The government of Pakistan doesn’t have documents to support its lofty claims about the project.
- CPEC will have an adverse effect on domestic businesses. China will export everything to Pakistan as it has tax exemptions. This will widen the trade imbalance.
- Contrary to popular view, the $58 billion project isn’t all funded by China. All CPEC roads are built with Pakistani resources.
- Pakistan is paying for the costs of providing security – 9,000 Pakistani Army soldiers and 6,000 para-military personnel – to Chinese workers.
- He reveals that Pakistan’s share of revenues from Gwadar Port is just 9 percent while China’s is 91 percent.
- He says that the Gwadar Port is built by China for the purpose of re-exporting Chinese products brought into Pakistan via a land route.
- He claims that Gwadar can’t be a commercial hub like Dubai as Gwadar lacks water to support development. He pointed that water is supplied to Gwadar city at a cost of ₹25,000 through water tankers. Water shortage is chronic in Gwadar which is often highlighted by people living in Balochistan.
Following are some points made by a former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan –
- Chinese investors are guaranteed a 17 percent return in dollar terms on their equity.
- For the $35 billion loaned by China to Pakistan for energy projects, Pakistan will have to make annual payments of $2.4 billion from current account.
- Loans of $15 billion for infrastructure made by China would have to repaid by Pakistan at 2 percent interest over a period of 20 to 25 years.
- On account of these loans, Pakistan’s debt-servicing payments would rise by $910 million annually. Total burden on external account would be $3.5 billion.
Here are some other fascinating points that show how China is ‘invading’ Pakistan –
- Thousands of acres of agricultural land will be leased to Chinese enterprises. The entire benefit of the growth will be sucked by China not giving Pakistan’s private sector any gains.
- China is all set to monitor every action of common Pakistanis. China will install a full system of monitoring and surveillance in many cities like Peshawar and Karachi. 24-hour video recordings of roads and marketplaces will be done for law and order purposes. This shows the level of trust the Chinese have on the common Pakistani.
- It is even being said that by 2048 the Chinese population in Pakistan will be more than the population of Balochis!
- China is concerned about Pakistan’s inflation which has averaged 11.6% in the last 6 years. China also says that loans to Pakistan won’t come for free.
- China is going to OWN Pakistan, a small indication of which was a Chinese consortium recently buying 40% stake in Pakistan Stock Exchange.
In conclusion, Pakistan will become a cash-cow and military base for China. More so, China will completely alter Pakistan’s culture in a few years’ time.