5:53 am - Sunday February 17, 2019

Why Pakistan Should Handover Half of The Karachi Port To India ?

Why Pakistan Should Handover Half of The Karachi Port To India ?

R.K.Upadhyay rp_RKU-150x150.jpg

Pakistan’s greatest human right champion , late Asma Jahangir ,once in a TV show , described the Pakistani army generals as ‘duffers’ and armed forces as ‘Khao piyo party’ .While the Khao piyo party may be an accurate description if one reads Ayesha Siddqa’s book on Pakistan  Army’s commercial empire ,but Asma was being very generous to army Generals by describing them as just ‘duffers’ . Being ‘Duffers’ it is beyond them to think like Henry Kissinger and normalize relations with India very quickly in Pakistan’s  own interest .But they are far worse than than  just being ‘Duffers’ .

Mir Jaffer was not a duffer . He was a cunning anti national who sold his country for personal gain . Pakistan army is full of Mir Jaffers . In fact it  continued its glorius tradition when Mir Jaffer’s great grand son ‘Iskandar Mirza ‘, an ex  army officer and   former president of Pakistan took over power from civilian government with the help of  General Ayub  Khan by imposing Marshal law for the first time.
Decades later in 2012 ,Pakistani Navy refused to handover the vital 584 acres of land to Singapore’s Port Authority and partners , having contract to manage the Gwadar port for forty years. Without that land Singapore gave up the Gwadar port .This was the neo Mir Zafferian moment of Pakistan’s armed forces which led to China taking over the Gwadar port and ultimately will take over whole of Pakistan in the garb of CPEC  which is an acronym for what really is the  East China Company  . Pakistani army will happily lose its both eyes if it can make India lose just one eye . How else it can be oblivious to the danger of Pakistan losing its independence to China . What defence it has against China ?
Having learnt from Russian misadventure in Afghanistan , China sweetened the takeover bid by coining a cleverly disguised forty billion dollar loan trap as a development package and called it CPEC .The irony of CPEC is that Pakistan will take loan to make roads from Gwadar to Kasghar so that Chinese can transport goods from Gwadar to China . But where is the demand for industrial goods  in Kasghar ? It will be just a road without traffic paid for by Pakistan .
 It will also  include coal  power projects which will sell electricity at twice the rate at which it is sold in India . The Pakistani industry and agriculture will buckle  and collapse under such a power tariff . It will also up grade the Pakistani  Railway just as British did in undivided  India . But Pakistani Railway will have no  indigenous traffic and will only carry the Chinese products and military equipment because in Ayub era itself Railway’s role was reduced mainly to passenger transportation system which makes it uneconomic . Goods movement was predominantly shifted to road in Pakistan.
Finally as in case of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port and airport Gwadar will not have any worthwhile commercial traffic as bulk of Chinese exports and imports will be for its east coast of Shanghai and Bejing for the next twenty years and will bye pass Gwadar. With no matching commercial earning Pakistan will not be able to pay back the  loans and  China will magnanimously take over all the vital assets of the nation but maintaining as much respect to Pakistani authorities in public as British did to Bahadur Shah Zaffar who could not even get Ghalib’s sentence commuted for just gambling !

At present Pakistan’s total imports are only about 50 MT and exports 15 MT . The dream of Gwadar ultimately handling 400 MT traffic like Singapore  is too far fetched .Forty percent of the capacity of Karachi por t is going unutilized at present . A few years back it already opened the PMS container port with a capacity of  450000 TEUs . Hutchison port too is expanding . Capacity of  Port Qasim is also being expanded . But for the CPEC Traffic , neither the Pakistani imports nor exports can get a quantum jump in the next fifteen  years as China will supply cheap finished goods like cement and Steel required for CPEC. In absence of foreign traffic Pakistan just cannot utilize the extra capacity of Gwadar port .Without extra income it cannot pay back the loans.

It is grossly uneconomic for China to import say oil from Gwadar , carry it over five thousand kilometers of land route going upto 15000 feet height . It will almost triple the transportation cost . Making a five thousand kilometer long pipeline to Shanghai is out of question . Gwadar is really only a strategic investment for China in the short run .China is also developing another route to bye pass Malacca straits in Mynamar / Thailand which is more economical . Development of  XINJIANG province which can give adequate traffic to Gwadar port is at least fifteen years away . Setting up of enough new port based  industries for exports by China in Pakistan in SEZs will take decades . Gloabal maritime traffic is suffering from surplus capacity at present and long term growth rate is about 3 percent . Central Asian countries are very small and cannot give very high traffic for a decade atleast nor will Afghanistan be the source of massive outward traffic for the next ten years .
On the other hand India is opening Chabhar port in Iran which will start with Two berths but will have ten berths finally. Major part of the Afghanistan’s import and exports traffic will get diverted to Chabhar thus reducing the inward  traffic at Karachi port. Some of the central Asian countries traffic will get diverted to Chabhar or Bandar Abas port thus slowing down of growth of  traffic at Gwadar.
Pakistani economy is in a downward spiral . It has no worthwhile exports to China . China may be eyeing the Balochistan’s mineral wealth . Giving away Balochistan’s wealth for paying back CPEC loan will further antagonize the Baloch population already suffering from the discrimination in low royalty for its gas .
There were better alternative  methods available for developing Pakistan . Its army led by Asma’s ‘Duffer’ Generals are just seeking military parity with India . Unlike neighbouring countries even 150 nuclear bombs have not made them secure . Pakistan is really  is dreaming of being the most powerful Islamic country with Chinese crutches. But crutches do not make you powerful but just increase dependence .
Any sane political thinker will realize that saving Pakistan’s sovereignty should be the primary concern of Pakistan as CPEC possibly cannot be undone .
The only Chankyan / Kissinger solution is to let India have a big stake in Pakistan by being given half of the Karachi port with free access to Pakistan’s railway network to Jodhpur and Amritsar . India is making twelve new ports in its Sagarmala project and is the only country that can utilize the massive spare port capacity generated in Pakistan by Gwadar port .Similarly it should open land route to Afghanistan and central Asian republics from India and get royalty . In return it should ask for cheap fertilisers , electricity and diesel locos and wagons  from India to support its agriculture and railway .

Cheap land, electricity and labour will make Pakistan attractive for FDI only if India purchases goods made in Pakistan . Only India can import value added industrial goods from Pakistan in a package deal . The real estate in Lahore will become much more valuable .Presence of India in a big way will reassure American and European companies for investment in Pakistan . Chinese presence is a threat to west which only India can counterbalance .

Nawaz Sharif possibly had realized this big picture and had taken the Ufa initiative .Kashmir issue has to be frozen for twenty five years . ”Asma’s Duffers ‘ got rid of Nawaz but their myopic vision will bring back the ‘Colony ‘status of Pakistan in just fifteen years .

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2 Responses to “Why Pakistan Should Handover Half of The Karachi Port To India ?”

  1. February 28, 2018 at 8:55 pm #

    Interesting idea. Why not entire port ? Entire country ? Though I have read it completely and carefully.

  2. February 28, 2018 at 8:56 pm #

    …………….not read it completely………………

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