On April 20, 2015 fifty-one documents were officialized between Chinese president, Xi Jinping, and Pakistani president, Nawaz Sharif, solidifying the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This project is an integral part in the Belt and Road Initiative, a Chinese operation aimed to connect Asian countries via transportation and resource allocation. However, the initiative has been criticized as a means for anti-competitive behavior creating puppet governments and satellite nations by means of debt and socioeconomic presence. Pakistan, specifically, bears the brunt of these suspicions, and further complicates U.S. relations with the sovereignty. Additionally, foreign presence in Pakistan has reinvigorated rebellion by the Balochs– a long time persecuted minority. Albeit, opinions should not be formed before the facts are presented.
CPEC is mutually beneficial to Pakistan and China. The former receives nearly sixty billion in infrastructure in return for granting a “corridor” to the Arabian Sea by which China could streamline international trade. The passage starts in Xinjiang, the western desert region of China, and ends in both Gwadar (a major Pakistani shipping port) and Karachi (lying on the coast, the most populated city in Pakistan). When viewed from Google Earth, it is obvious to see the development occurring in both destinations– grids of roads wait idly by for the construction of buildings, and the presence of a nuclear reactor in Karachi promises additional energy to the country.
Progress concerning CPEC on the Gwadar port began in November of 2016 by the Chinese, but is not the first time China had presence there. The port was initially constructed by China from 2002-2006, but ended due to the region’s instability– a.k.a. the Baloch rebellion.
The southern region of Pakistan is it’s most resource rich area, and is comprised of Balochistan after the Baloch people group (spanning from southern Pakistan over to Iraq) and the province of Sindh (which contains the city of Karachi). This minority has been attempting to split away since the fifties, but the country refuses to let it’s most valued land fall away. The main resistance is the BLA (Baloch Liberation Army), and after countless suicide bombings and shootings, are labeled as a terrorist group by the U.S.A.. However, the Baloch and Sindh pleas are not dismissible either, when taken into account the long history of forced disappearances, murders, genocide, and other forms of Pakistani persecution against the south.
When China became a dominant presence in Balochistan and Sindh, it only spiraled matters into a chaotic frenzy, with Chinese laborers becoming the main targets of the rebellion. On November 23, 2019, an attack was made against the Chinese consulate in Karachi by three separatists, but the plan ultimately failed.
Resistance forces, however, are not the only groups complaining about CPEC though– so are many Pakistani officials. When the agreement was first made between the two nations in 2015, it was worth nearly forty-six billion dollars, which accounted for one fifth of Pakistan’s GDP at the time. This has sparked conversation over Pakistan’s wisdom in cooperating with China and whether it is a one-way ticket to debt.
Remember to note, this article is not meant to argue one side or another, but to present an issue that few Westerners know about. The argument for CPEC are numerous and persuasive. Benefits experienced by Pakistan, due to CPEC, are plentiful. Additionally, this was not meant as a reference, but as a presentation of a conflict. The details and facts are up to the reader to review and vindicate.

920 thoughts on “CPEC”

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