Writing for The Jerusalem Post, geopolitical analyst Preity Upala has said that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the most vital project of China’s “expansionist” Belt and Road initiative, will be a ‘trillion-dollar blunder.’
Preity Upala, a political editor and analyst specialises in geo-political strategies, international affairs, conflict resolution and counter-terrorism, has said that CPEC is “‘colonial’ adventure that will never bear fruit.” She said that China had initiated the CPEC project under the intention of buttressing Pakistan’s unstable economy and to modernise its infrastructure but the unsustainable national debt, soaring trade deficit and the high inflation rate indicate that, instead of flourishing, Pakistan’s economy is plummeting.
She said that the CPEC project’s initial cost had been calculated to be $47 billion but has now ascended to $87 billion. The debt quotient of this gargantuan project is said to be $80 billion, 90 per cent of which will be paid for by Pakistan as the national debt.
Upala said that CPEC was launched under the false premise that a “nation needs these massive economic projects to be prosperous.” She said that no one will be willing to pay for this project because no one would be able to extract money out of it.
She said Pakistan will not be able to pay its 90 per cent share ($72 billion) of the debt quotient and China will seize the opportunity and infiltrate the Pakistani land. Pakistan will gradually lose sovereignty over its land. She said that this project will not be a successful money-maker for China either.
She claimed that there are ‘many’ reports from China that Pakistan is covertly trying to ‘sabotage’ the CPEC. The Chinese officials are frustrated by Pakistan’s inaction. “Like most adventures, there is no opacity”, she wrote.
She said that Pakistan will ultimately end up with an expensive infrastructure that it cannot survive. “It will be known as a ‘trillion-dollar blunder’”, she said.
Upala said that the CPEC has received massive criticism from the Baloch nationalists, finance, trade imbalances and the resident of Gwadar and its adjacent territories. She also said the resolution passed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa court provincial assembly against the CPEC and the Indian resistance over the construction in Gilgit Baltistan.
She said the bifurcation of erstwhile Kashmir into Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir have placed some areas of Gilgit Baltistan into India’s hands. To execute any construction there, China will have to legally take India’s permission, which it will never get.“In accordance with international law, China will not be able to build anything in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, as it is legitimately part of the Indian state”, she wrote.
She claimed that China’s failed ‘colonial adventure’ and Pakistan’s ‘gluttonous desire for land-grabbing’ will ultimately lead to their collective downfall.