4:14 pm - Sunday April 22, 2018

Pakistan : A Comparison of The Next Fifty Years of Likely Chinese Rule on Pakistan with The First Fifty Years of British Rule On India

Pakistan : A Comparison of The Next Fifty Years of Likely Chinese Rule on Pakistan with The First Fifty Years of British Rule On India

RKU   R.K.Upadhyay cpec

Pakistanis these days are greatly excited about the Chinese $ 46 billion promised investment in CPEC which is being called the game changer . It is being told to the gullible public that after CPEC ‘पाकिस्तानी डॉलर से नाक पौन्छेंगे ‘(wipe their nose with dollars). Some of the CPEC projects have high public visibility. Lahore’s Metro and Orange Line work may get completed soon from CPEC funds .Electricity shortage may get reduced substantially as some new Chinese made power houses may get commissioned soon . The ruling government will be able to show visible economic progress before next elections in 2018 thus hopefully seeking a mandate to govern Pakistan again for the next five years .


Obviously with such wild dreams that there is no opposition to CPEC either in civil society or in armed forces. Armed forces are completing the CPEC roads with alacrity. The Gwadar port has been commissioned . A trial convoy of trucks from Gwadar to China’s Kashgar has been sent . One ship of containers has also been dispatched . It can be presumed that Gwadar to Kashgar route will be started soon . The restoration of Pakistan Railway as well as construction of new motor ways may be also be started soon under CPEC funding.


All that is missing is the real commercial traffic for the new routes. China’s XINJIANG province is very backward  and does not have adequate export potential . Shanghai is too far and will not use the many times more expensive Gwadar route. For the real incremental commercial traffic for the next ten to fifteen years the old Karachi port has enough idle capacity and Lahore Karachi road can handle all the extra traffic if at all generated .

Gwadar, the Pakistan dream of becoming a Dubai and Singapore , is destined to remain a port without any traffic and a ghost city without population. The Sri Lanka’s Chinese made port of Hambantota , constructed at a cost of $ 1.1 billion dollars ( 360 million first phase ) met with the same fate . There was no traffic for the new port and Sri Lanka could not pay back the loan . Finally it sold the port to a Chinese firm .

(Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port And The World’s Emptiest Airport Go To The Chinese – forbes)

Most of the Chinese investment in CPEC ,of about 11 billion dollars ,will be in the form of cheap loans for infrastructure development in which half the cost will be met by Pakistan . The entire construction work is being done by Chinese companies , using Chinese labour and material. Pakistanis will not get any direct benefit from the Chinese investment . They are hoping to benefit from the better infrastructure and hope that some Chinese factories being relocated in Pakistan for export to Europe , middle East etc .But it will not happen .Pakistan has no exportable goods for China .

Faced with the easy availability of cheap Chinese products ,Pakistan’s local industry will virtually get closed due to high input costs like the exhorbitant electricity rates .Pakistan will become a big market for Chinese products just as we were a big market for British textiles before independence . Its export as well as remittances are already declining and will go down even further . It has already a foreign debt of $ 72 billion against annual exports of around $ 20 billion and inward remittances of 15 billion dollars .At present it is about 67% of GDP. As per one Pakistani law debt in excess of 60% of GDP can not be taken but who bothers for law in Pakistan . When it will not be able to pay the loans and it will be forced to sell its Gwadar port , airport , railway and roads to China along with huge land for Chinese factories . With its industries closed , Pakistan will become the pre independence agricultural economy but with acute water shortage due to doubling of the population by 2050.


Pakistan has started preparing for large scale Chinese presence in Pakistan . Mandarin language courses have started like the English courses . Exclusive SEZ and Chinese colonies will established . It is estimated that by 2050 it will have more Chinese than it had Englishmen in 1947 and due to loan default , it will become as much of a colony of China just as it was a British colony earlier . But it will learn to its dismay that democratic British were far better masters than the autocratic Chinese who will suck them dry but leaving them free to wear Salwars , pray in mosques , keep Rozas , wear burquas and celebrate Eid in accordance with Sharia . This is exactly what British did . But they were far more liberal and out of economic compulsion gave us railway , education , communication and rudimentary industrialisation . Chinese ,being a totally alien culture , will give nothing to Pakistan beyond more weapons . But Pakistan already has enough missiles and bombs and more of them will not increase its security.It may get a few more roads and rail projects and the rejected coal based power plants. But they will not solve the economic problems of Pakistan . Bangladesh , erstwhile East Pakistan is likely to have twice the size of economy and double the per capita income as it is following India’s strategy of self reliance. Pakistan’s colonization will be a very low cost reward to Chinese. In comparison, Russia and America were such a failure in Afghanistan .

Pakistan could have chosen the slow and difficult path of self reliance like India. But from the very beginning it got used to easy life and foreign aid for economic growth and survival. It sold its soul for a few billion dollars in Ayub , Zia and Musharraf’s time . It is suffering immensely at present due to Zia’s mistake of harboring terrorists for bleeding India and Russia . Similarly thirty years later it will greatly regret selling its soul to Chinese . Now it is beyond its capacity to change the course unless it abandons the CPEC.

Since all the Pakistan’s stakeholders i.e. PPP’S Asif Zardari and PML(N) ‘S Nawaz Shariff well as Army’s Raheel Shareef have backed this project , there is some hidden value which Pakistani leadership sees in this project .It is important ,for us in India, to understand the hidden value of this project to Pakistani psyche.

One obvious suspicion is kickbacks which has resulted in exhorbitant cost of electricity which is more than double the cost of electricity in India . If true, it is the akin to the  act of treason of Mir Zafar that led to Indian’s defat at Plassey and the beginning of British colonization ..But corruption alone is not the whole story .

Islamists love the military power . From the battle of Badr to capture of Spain , Islam thrives in the parables of its military victories .

It is most likely the lure of being a world power , even if with Chinese missiles, aircrafts , submarines, that has lead Pakistan into this debt trap. The idea of Pakistan being the the most powerful Islamic nation is irresistible to any Pakistani particularly its ruling armed forces . They will perceive themselves to be as important an ally of the new super power China as UK is for USA or Israel is in middle east and love to bask in the reflected glory. China too will treat it with a lot of deference just as Americans treated the Saudis or British treated the Indian Princes . But without having a matching independent economy and dependent on Chinese doles, Pakistan will end up being just a Chinese colony with its population totally lost in an alien culture . They were a part of liberal Indian culture and were in close contacts with the liberal western culture . Pakistan has no exposure to Tienamein Square’s  repression culture as even its military dictators were quite   democratic and rooted in Pakistani culture.

How will it affect India ?

A prosperous Pakistan is in India’s interests also as it will lead to more trade and the prosperity will get shared . An economically depleted and persecuted Pakistan may create a problem huge refugee influx just as the earlier Bangladeshi refugee influx which has changed India’s demographic balance .

But the biggest danger is that with its army in Pakistan , China would have surrounded us continuously from Amritsar to Arunachal. Our armed forces will get thinned out . Instead of Himalayas , China will be able to fight a war in the plains of Tarai and the fourth battle of Panipat may be with Chinese . Sri Lankan and Bangladesh ports under the Chinese control will bring it uncomfortably close to our navy. China is trying to get the naval capacity to choke straits of Hormuz in reply to choking of straits of Malacca by west . It will put our oil supply at great risk .

In short, while the Pakistanis are walking into the debt trap of CPEC with the confidence of a night walker but a decimated Pakistan is also not in India’s interest  .

There is a need to inform the Pakistani public about dangers of recolonisation due to CPEC.

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