CPEC Has ‘Very Worrying Aspects’, Pakistani Writer Says
A Pakistani writer warned on Friday that the CPEC, which has earned the ire of India, has “some very worrying aspects” for Pakistan.
Staff writer Nadir Hassan said in The News International that the corridor project might go beyond economics “and will lead to the type of control over Pakistan that the US exerted post 9/11 and even before that”.
According to Hassan, details about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which have been closely guarded by Islamabad, were recently made public, exposing “some very worrying aspects to the entire deal.
“China will apparently be responsible for installing security systems in major cities around the country.
“The cost this represents to our liberty is one we have accepted must be paid as the price (for) tackling the militant threat.
“But handing over the responsibility for installing similar surveillance systems in cities (other than Lahore) to China brings an additional threat.”
Hassan said China had less commitment to online freedom than most countries “and giving it control of our optic fibre network is dangerous given the Chinese government’s propensity for hacking”.
He alleged that Pakistan was agreeing to everything China was saying — just for the sake of economics.
“The long-term plan calls for Chinese nationals to be allowed visa-free travel to Pakistan without a reciprocal facility being granted to Pakistani citizens,” he said.
The writer said Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s claim that China doesn’t seek any price for its aid was misleading.
“The contracts for CPEC projects were given to the Chinese without any bidding. The capital expenditures required for these projects were made mainly through loans by China.
“None of this need necessarily be sinister. We have some idea of how much we have taken out in loans and when the bills will be due.
“On balance, the deal is a still a good one for Pakistan. But to claim that all this development is being done without China extracting benefit for itself is simply untrue.”
Hassan said: “Pakistan has little option but to submit to Chinese domination. Our relations with our other neighbours are all but non-existent.”
He said the Pakistan-China relationship had been sustained because Beijing sees New Delhi as a regional rival.
“CPEC is part of a plan to not just make China the dominant power in the region but in the world.
“The OBOR summit in Beijing showed that CPEC is just one part of a larger Chinese gambit to become the next superpower.
“Building new trade routes is the first step towards projecting global power. In this way it is no different to imperialistic projects of the past.”
India has come out strongly against the CPEC, saying it runs through Pakistan-administered Kashmir which it claims is its territory.