CPEC Project A ‘Trillion-Dollar Blunder’, Pakistan Calls It ‘Outstanding Initiative’

Pakistan PM Imran Khan pledged that his government would complete the CPEC project (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) at any cost and pass its benefits to the country despite media reports calling it a Trillion-Dollar Blunder.

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“The corridor is a manifestation of Pakistan-China friendship and the government will complete it at any cost and bring its fruit to every Pakistani,” Khan said.

Terming the CPEC project as an outstanding initiative for the country’s socio-economic development, Khan said the enormous China-Pakistan project joint would assure a bright future for the country.

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The China Pakistan Economic Corridor, according to some experts, could become a “trillion-dollar blunder.”  The CPEC, a collection of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan, which were originally valued at $46 billion is now estimated to be $87 billion and only a quarter of which have been completed, according to The Jerusalem Post.

JPost says that CPEC was planned to rapidly upgrade Pakistani infrastructure and stimulate its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, energy projects and special economic zones (SEZs).

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However, in recent years the CPEC has proved to be based on a bogus assumption that a nation needs these massive economic projects to be flourishing. It is now self-evident that no one is willing to pay for these projects in the end, as they will never make any profit from it.

The debt outcome of the CPEC project is about $80 billion, 90% of which will be paid for by Pakistan in the form of the national debt. Islamabad knows that it will not be able to pay China back and will eventually lose the sovereignty of its own land says JPost.

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The CPEC project has been facing a lot of scrutinies like economics, trade asymmetries, opposition from Baloch rebels, concerns of citizens near Gwadar Port and the resistance of locals whom this rollout may directly impact. A verdict was even passed against the CPEC by the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in which the projects are to be built.

Last month, Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US had written an article in ‘The Diplomat’ stating that Pakistan’s desire to maintain strategic relations with China has resulted in the construction of $62 billion worth of CPEC, which includes a set of infrastructure projects, being mired in insufficient transparency.

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“China’s consistent strategic support, including help with Pakistan’s nuclear program, is often held out by Pakistan’s military establishment favourably in contrast with the more conditional Pakistani alliance with the United States. But it seems now that China is not in Pakistan to help its people but rather as a predatory economic actor”, he said.

Meanwhile, a new concern has now started to worry China. According to international law, China will not be able to develop anything in Pakistan-administered Kashmir as it is technically a part of India despite being administer by Pakistan. Even the accepts that this is Indian land, as per its 1948 resolution on Kashmir, writes the report.

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On the other hand, Aksai Chin, a region that India claims is also an obstruction. China is expected to face obstacles in the region which probably explains the recent India-China border clash in Galwan Valley. During the recent border face-off, India had clearly stated that it will not accept any infiltration into its territory and has the capability to deal with infiltrators.

Hence, as the experts say, the CPEC will soon be known as the “trillion-dollar blunder” as here China sets the price, Pakistan gets the bill and ends up with substandard infrastructure it cannot service.