CPEC & baseless international propaganda

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Dr Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

CHINA-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is going to enter its phase-II due to which international propaganda has now been disseminated fake news, biased analysis, official statements and last but not the least articles about its utility and benefits. Most recently, The Jerusalem Post, Israel published an article entitled “Beijing’s China-Pakistan Economic Corridor leads to nowhere” on June 20, 2020 written by Preity Upala an Indian citizen settled in the USA, indicated so-called structural flaws, contractual ambiguities, concealment of important information regarding finances, terms & conditions, trade imbalance, opposition from Baloch nationalists, serious concerns of residents near Gwadar Port and the resistance of local actors. She misinformed that originally CPEC was valued at $46 billion, the estimate of CPEC projects is now $87b and only a quarter of which have been completed.

On the contrary, CPEC was meant to integrate regional potential and resources to modernize Pakistani infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects and special economic zones (SEZs). Being prominent regional expert of CPEC & BRI, I think that Preity Upala is biased in her financial assessment about the CPEC by exaggerating the initial value from $46 billion to $87b. Moreover, she was wrong to highlight Baloch nationalists fear and concern about the development of CPEC in their soil especially in Gwadar Port. It is estimated that CPEC would be game and fate changer for the local population in terms of socio-economic prosperity, new jobs, reduction of poverty and modernization.

Preity Upala, the writer of the article, upheld that most of the SEZs are still underdeveloped and remained largely empty. It seems that writer does not know about the actual functionality and “scheme of arrangement” of the ongoing and future projects under the umbrella of CPEC. Development of numerous SEZs would be accelerated mostly in its phase-II. Preity Upala seems to be ill informed even about the “concept” of the CPEC and portrayed it as “false premise” of economic sustainability and social prosperity. On the other hand, CPEC was initiated to achieve greater socio-economic prosperity, regional connectivity, massive industrialization, generation of new jobs and ultimately increase in the exports.

The writer of this article also termed CPEC a Chinese “colonial adventure” which is totally wrong and shows her “mental inflexibility” to see its true colours. CPEC is “collaborative” and “participatory” mega project which does not have any match with Indian “hegemonic designs”.

Right from its inception, the “Indian lobby” has been secretly working against the CPEC. Most recently, article entitled “China Pakistan Economic Corridor will be ‘trillion dollar blunder” was published in “Business Standard” on June 22, 2020 pinpointed numerous financial abnormalities associated with the CPEC. Being prominent regional expert of CPEC & BRI, I strongly protest “pseudo intellectualism” of Indian lobby and its pay-rolled “robots” to defame CPEC. CPEC represents socio-economic prosperity and greater regional connectivity in the days to come.

Even now European institutes have apparently lost their so-called superior knowledge of economics, financial data, international relations and last but not the least commercial diplomacy and unfortunately surrendered their abilities of logic and wisdom to Indian lobby. Most recently Italian Institute for International Political Studies published a baseless article entitled The “Growing security dimension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” on March 10, 2020 termed CPEC a potential security risk for the South East Asia Region. The basic thesis of its so-called empirical studies is based on various security formations of the Government of Pakistan to provide essential security cover to ongoing projects of the CPEC.

The said publication labelled CPEC an epicentre to influence the power dynamics in South Asia and beyond. Moreover, it is gaining momentum since it becomes obvious that the CPEC is not only a program to promote economic growth but also serves as an instrument for Beijing to extend its strategic influence from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. The assumptions and data collections of this Italian publication are not based on facts.

Ours is the age of commercial diplomacy and every country has the right to secure its “territorial sovereignty” through bilateral socio-economic mega projects or trilateral military alliances which should not be taken a security risk to any regional country. India lobby and agencies have been actively pursuing their vested interests in Maldives, Nepal and even in Sri Lanka and no super power equated its adventures a regional security risk in the past. So what is so special about the CPEC?

Unfortunately, this Italian publication showcased the CPEC as the most rapidly growing security risk attached to Chinese international development projects. Various security units like Special Security Division (SSD) Pakistan Army, ‘Civil Armed Forces’ (CAF) Interior Ministry, Task Force-88’ (TF-88), Coastal Security and Harbour Defence Force, Force Protection Battalion, Pakistan Navy have been formed to provide “security shield” to Chinese engineers working on various mega projects of the CPEC. Indian RAW has been trying to sabotage development activities under CPEC in Baluchistan and other parts of the country which needs to be matched with better security apparatus having specialized security units and commands.

In order to secure ongoing CPEC, Pakistan and China have already formed a ‘Joint Maritime Information and Coordination Centre’ (JMICC) and ‘Coastal Watch Stations’ (CWSs) especially with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Besides the aforesaid security measures focusing mainly on Gwadar and the larger maritime component of the CPEC, the central authorities also boosted their police capacities to ensure law and order along the corridor. CPEC is life line for the revival of our national economy for which sincere efforts must be initiated to protect it.