Chal­leng­ing the Neg­a­tive Views about CPEC

The Diplomatic Insight - - Editor's Note -

or any­one keep­ing a close eye on the four and a half year old CPEC, the re­cent few months was no peace­ful time. Start­ing from the re­lease of the Long Term Plan in the midyear, a storm of neg­a­tive views thun­der­ing down to var­i­ous as­pects of the en­deavor, from the dis­agree­ments with re­gards to the pre­cise lo­ca­tion of some par­tic­u­lar SEZs, to the ru­mored halt­ing of fund­ing to four road projects. This salvo of neg­a­tive views, whether care­fully or­ches­trated or coin­ci­den­tally si­mul­ta­ne­ous, led mil­lions of in­no­cent and clue­less con­sumers of news ar­ti­cles into be­liev­ing that CPEC is a Tro­jan horse em­ployed by China to ex­ploit Pak­istan, and thou­sands of more ed­u­cated an­a­lysts to se­ri­ously think of the risk that CPEC might thus turn to a li­a­bil­ity rather than an as­set in the China Pak re­la­tion­ship. The neg­a­tive views on CPEC re­cently gain­ing mo­men­tum are to be at­trib­uted to var­i­ous fac­tors. Some are the di­rect prod­ucts of lav­ish spend­ing by In­dia’s prime agency, run­ning up to 250 mil­lion US dol­lars, just to cre­ate an­tiCPEC pro­pa­ganda in Pak­istan; some fear which could be com­fort­ably dealt away with once ru­mors are busted and truths are told; and some are just the man­i­fes­ta­tion of a fail­ure to ap­pre­ci­ate that CPEC is mov­ing to its sec­ond phase where care­ful project study is more valu­able than ju­bi­lant ground break­ing cer­e­mony. What this brief ar­ti­cle in­tends to do is not to twist the black­mail­ers serv­ing other coun­try’s in­ter­est and pos­si­bly on their pay­roll back to the camp of con­science. Rather, it just tries to in­form the other two cat­e­gories of pro­duc­ers as well as buy­ers of the neg­a­tive views on CPEC that all is not as bad as you are mis­led to be­lieve, sim­ply by clar­i­fy­ing the grounds on some ques­tions that pos­si­bly hangs on the mind of every one of us, par­tic­u­larly those with re­gards to the Long Term Plan, which is de­picted as point­ing to a Chi­nese eco­nomic in­va­sion to Pak­istan. The script of those who wants to like this: CPEC has a huge hid­den agenda and is far more than what meets our eyes. The power plants and the com­mu­ni­ca­tion projects are noth­ing but the sweet cover of a bit­ter pill for Pak­istan to swal­low. Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has ap­plied tremen­dous pressure on its Pak­istani coun­ter­part to stop the truth from pub­lic scru­tiny, thus ex­plain­ing why the pub­lic re­lease of the Long Term Plan has al­ways been be­lated and never com­plete. Several things that drew ques­tions not with­out hos­til­ity from one par­tic­u­lar in­ter­preter of the LTP are the in­tro­duc­tion of a nation-wide sur­veil­lance sys­tem, more ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion of China in­vested en­ter­prises in agri­cul­ture sec­tor, the de­vel­op­ment of an en­joy­ment in­dus­try along the coastal belt, pref­er­en­tial treat­ment to in­vestors putting their money in SEZs. Thank good­ness, he who des­per­ately wanted to sell us this ver­sion of story just went so far as spoil­ing him­self in mak­ing in­ter­pre­ta­tion to the LTP and stopped short of twist­ing the con­tents them­selves. And even judg­ing from the rel­a­tively com­plete ver­sion of LTP as it was made pub­lic ear­lier this year, I saw more of an agenda for eco­nomic re­ju­ve­na­tion than for eco­nomic in­va­sion to Pak­istan, nei­ther did I see any de­sign to seek China’s self in­ter­est to the jeop­ardy of Pak­istan’s. First, the sur­veil­lance sys­tem. The most ef­fec­tive way to make an en­emy

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