1.Pakistan’s leading newspaper Dawn issued a detailed article for the first time informing public about the short term and long term plans under CPEC. Which is not as what was actually thought or projected earlier to Pak citizens. The plan envisages a deep and broad-based penetration of most sectors of Pakistan’s economy as well as its society by Chinese enterprises and culture. Its scope has no precedent in Pakistan’s history in terms of how far it opens up the domestic economy to participation by foreign enterprises. Contrary to popular belief it does not focus only on Mining, allied industries, infrastructure , power plants and transport corridors but invasive and penetrative surveillance of Pakistani cities, visa-free entry for Chinese nationals into Pakistan and appropriating Pakistani agriculture to grow crops to suit Chinese interests. Let’s try to visualise the plans .
2.Agriculture: Dawn indicates , “thousands of acres of agricultural land will be leased out to Chinese enterprises to set up ‘demonstration projects’ in areas ranging from seed varieties to irrigation technologies”. This means China will take control of thousands of acre of land to make laboratories and test its new product or call it invention in Pakistan or on Pakistani people with the license from of Pakistani government. This can also include GMO or other BT crops which can seriously change the crops genetically and looking at the proximity of fields in Punjab in India and Pakistani Punjab it may affect India as well. These experiments or demonstration technology can be set up in China as well but the risks are high against any failure which may quite possibly occur. Any harm which will occur to public health or land will happen in Pakistan and the fruit of success if any will be taken to China with patents. Apart from these Chinese enterprises will also operate their own farms, processing facilities for fruits and vegetables and grain. Logistics companies will operate a large storage and transportation system for agrarian produces. China will also make and rent fertilizer, farm and irrigation equipment . So basically China here is the provider of life size pilot projects and Pakistan is the market. There is no technology transfer, as it is just a buyer and seller relationship, all provided by China and bought by Pakistan.
3.Massive SurveillanceChina’s record of controlling its own citizen movement, media, press to what they can do online in social media and even global search engines, is not hidden from anyone. But the people living in China are Chinese subjects and the country with its constitutional mandate can do whatever they want with them. Problem is China is setting up “full system of monitoring and surveillance” with hardware stationed in big cities such as Peshawar and Karachi, 24-hour video surveillance and recordings on roads and busy marketplaces for “law and order”, Pakistan is practically handing control of its citizen movement to China.The plan goes on further and says “not only for internet traffic, but also for terrestrial distribution of broadcast TV, which will cooperate with Chinese media in the ‘dissemination of Chinese culture’”. So they control movement and they will also spread their culture through television shows. Essentially, Pakistan is handing over its internet and broadcast media i.e entire communication system to China and this might spell doom for Pakistan’s own limited independence and whatever remains of its press freedom. Soon, we can expect encroachment into print media space. Much like the absolute lack of press freedom in China, Pakistan too would be seen propagating political worldviews that suit the Chinese and thereby surrender its ideological and political sovereignty.
4.IndustriesCPEC envisages dividing Pakistan into several zones and each zone has given a particular sector. One common thing among all sectors be it minerals or textiles, Pakistan will be mainly producing raw material which will be processed in China. Some of the notables will be chrome ore which is used as a refractory material, and in chrome plating and alloying for production of corrosion resistant super alloys, nichrome, and stainless steel. Marble, China is even now the biggest importer of processed marble from Pakistan. In textile, Pakistan is their biggest supplier . CPEC is only interested in exporting coarse material and yarn to China as Xinjian already have high productivity in textile and will need huge amount of raw material. Special economic zones have been proposed along the route but they will have reservations only for the Chinese industrialists which will bring in Chinese workers, their technology and will sell finished products to Pakistan and the outside world with the lion’s share of the profit. It is feared that whole demography of Baluchistan could change and Chinese may outnumber Baloch. For capturing Industrial peace keeping responsibility in Balochistan including Gwadar port 100,000 Chinese troops will be initially deployed.
5.To do all this Chinese companies will be provided exemptions in taxes, excise and any other duties or tolls. All this will be provided over and above local industries making them impossible to compete with incoming Chinese companies. There is no plan of China using CPEC for logistics for its finished goods as they have also planned one separate belt and road initiative which is basically a rail route across central Asian countries all the way to European cities , they just don't need to pass it through Pakistan. This route can only be used to import raw material like oil , minerals and cotton from Africa through Pakistan and bye-pass Malacca .
6.Financing :Bulk of finance comes from China, of course. While keeping in mind the inflation of nearly 11% in Pakistan and considerable political and security risk which can result in cost escalation, CPEC only accommodates interest rates of loans to be kept low and asks Pakistan’s federal and local governments to also bear part of the responsibility for financing through issuing sovereign bonds, meanwhile protecting and improving the proportion and scale of the government funds invested in corridor construction in the financial budget.So all this is not an investment like in equity but a loan with sovereign guarantee which will be paid back with interest.
7.The other big risk the plan refers to is exchange rate risk, after noting the severe weakness in Pakistan’s ability to earn foreign exchange. To mitigate this, the plan proposes tripling the size of the swap mechanism between the RMB and the Pakistani rupee to 30 billion Yuan, diversifying power purchase payments beyond the dollar into RMB and rupee basket, tapping the Hong Kong market for RMB bonds, and diversifying enterprise loans from a wide array of sources. The growing role of the RMB in Pakistan’s economy is a clearly stated objective of the measures proposed.6.Apart from all this threat there are geopolitical risks.
7.1.Iran, which looks upon China in purely economic terms and as a distant player, will definitely be negatively disposed to this project for the following reasons: Manifestation of an Eastern force of this nature is unprecedented in Iran’s history. Iran has reason for alarm over the increased Wahhabization and radicalisation of Pakistan due to its idelogical leaning to Saudi Arabia . From a relatively multi-confessional Indian brand of Islam, Pakistan has morphed into a premier Wahhabi force in Asia. Iran would scarcely be interested in the strengthening of a Sunni force to its east, even as it struggles to reach a détente with the major Wahhabi powers to its west.
7.2. Afghanistan, which is today an American proxy, would not be keen on any Chinese influence in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa or the FATA regions of Pakistan; these have been a buffer between the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia for centuries.
7.3. India, of course, which seeks space for its growth as a regional economic power would be very negative towards a strong Chinese-Pakistani partnership.Its efforts with Iran to develop Chabahar port and the connecting corridor to central Asia in fact an alternative plan to CPEC. Additionally, the highway itself passes through regions of POK which India claims as its own territory. India would see building this highway as an act of aggression against it.
7.4.The United States would not relish the prospect of Pakistan building a deeper relationship with its worldwide rival. The primary reason would be that the US would have to up the ante in the concessions it gives Pakistan in order to retain its influence over Pakistan’s policy makers. As the relative success of Trump’s presidential campaign has shown, the American public is less in favour of engagement with faraway nations, especially Pakistan, which has been a proliferator of terror and nuclear weapons. Looking back Pakistan is in a big way responsible for the spectre of North Korea. nuclear and missile strength.
8.Conclusion : Let us look back at British colonialism in India ; it all started with Business at Kolkata port, diwani rights for Bengal (made British the zamindars of Bengal), trade which was mainly India being a market of finished British goods and exporter of raw material. British Railways to improve connectivity and colonialization. CPEC has all similar features .Here Pakistan will not only export Raw material but also pay the capital with interest and while doing so convert the country to a large Chinese colony for all profits tagged for the one way traffic to Beijing till such time rebellion grows all over the land to shed a sea full of blood to overthrow the sackle Pak leaders were unwittingly fooled to be fastened with by their so called “”all weather friend “”.