China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will no doubt greatly improve the transport-network infrastructure in Pakistan. China’s western provinces, as against its eastern Pacific coastal provinces, which are highly developed, still remain barren and mostly unproductive like the Wild West of United States in 18th century. The CPEC will give a fillip to industrial development in those eastern Chinese provinces and their products will be exported via this corridor and the Gwadar port to the Middle East and Europe. Pakistan also stands to reap a collateral bonanza of economic benefits from this Chinese initiative.
But unfortunately, being addicted to escalation of taxes and always on the lookout for a pretense to do so, the government of Pakistan has announced an increase of 1% in electricity tariff on the pretext of financing CPEC security. Our price of electricity is already one of the highest in the world and needs to be lowered sharply rather than doing the opposite. The new taxation measure is bound to depress the economy and negatively affect our exports, widening our balance of payment deficit. This of course will lead to heightened borrowing of dollars and aggravate our dependence on the pitiless lenders. The net result will be worsening of terrorism and further enslavement of our sovereignty. Justice demands that the cost of CPEC and its security should be recovered over a long-term period from the toll-tax that will be levied on its users, and not from the common man of Pakistan.