There is a wind of positive change and optimistic horizons being projected these days in Pakistan by the educated and patriotic class who supports Imran Khan, who is successful in making his government in the country. One of the very first actions he took as the Prime Minister of the country having the unprecedented, unconditional support of the powerful Armed Forces of the country which has ruled Pakistan for the majority of its creation, is to revisit all the mega contracts made by the previous government, shrouded in the clout of secrecy. Prime Minister Imran Khan or #PMIK as he is affectionately called, announced that not only they will renegotiate the mega international agreements like CPEC(China Pakistan Economic Corridor), but also make the details of these agreements public. It might have caused quite a stir among the investors in particular the Chinese Government, who is the principal investor in the project as such, but, Mr Khans Govt made it clear to everyone that all such contracts will have to be renegotiated keeping the interest of Pakistani public foremost, which has not been the case previously. The existing agreements were made by the Sharif brothers keeping in view their personal business interests and those of their supporters before Pakistani national interests. Because of the said conflict of interests the Nawaz League Govt signed the CPEC contracts on weak footings. It must be mentioned that the Pakistani economic isolation also played its part in subjugating the previous Govt under Beijing. However, rampant corruption at the highest levels in the previous Govt is the essential cause of the said renegotiation.
Before proceeding further, let us clarify the ambiguity about the renegotiation being illegal as such. It may be noted that, all such mega contracts spread over decades, can be renegotiated any time, by any side/party, as and when ground conditions clash with the paper clauses of the agreement. Having said that, in this case the terms of the CPEC agreements are reportedly highly unfair to Pakistan, which the previous Govt accepted firstly because of their own individual vested interests and secondly because they felt, they were under international economic isolation, with the Chinese offering the only way out, so they took the deal on their terms.
So what changed in Pakistan, which warrants such a renegotiation?. Honest leadership serving the national interests of the country is that change which require such an appraisal. Beside, the secret deal made by the previous govt under said circumstances will lead Pakistan into a debt trap where the country will be eventually forced to surrender strategic assets like ports and communication infrastructure to the Chinese side eventually.
The Chinese partners may well be investing the major portion of the CPEC investments, but the entire model has to be workable and favourable for the host country that is Pakistan. It must be understood that the Pakistanis need the CPEC infrastructure projects as much as the Chinese, who want to control the entire regional trade with CPEC as its pivot. Pakistan must not sell for any less, as our Chinese friends are also all about keeping business as business and cup of tea as cup of tea.
The success of CPEC will most certainly decide the status of the Chinese Peoples Republic as the global number ONE power house as against the United States of America. The failure of CPEC God forbid, will not only devastate the Pakistani economy but would also mean the death of the Chinese "1 trillion US dollar" dream of the One Belt One Road(OBOR) project of global economic dominance.
The USA has launched an all out effort in partnership with India to somehow jeopardize the CPEC project. However, this unholy effort is most likely to fail due to Geo-strategical position of Pakistan viz a viz a strong nuclear armed military and the economic and military clout of the Chinese. It does however, provides Pakistan with an option to look the other way if the Chinese partners in CPEC do not make an honest deal with Pakistan regards CPEC which benefits Pakistan in the long run as well as China.
The end state in the near future looks like a settlement of terms and continued fast pace development of CPEC. This would leave the USA no other choice but to compromise and become partners in the mega economic venture called CPEC and OBOR. This would bring India into her senses forcing them to plead Pakistan and China in order to join the CPEC-OBOR project. It would only bring peace and stability through economic integration and poverty alleviation in the most populated region of the world.
It is finally the time for the Chinese to prove their age old slogan of Sino-Pak friendship which is supposed to be deeper than the oceans and sweeter than honey. Its time to prove that China is a friend to Pakistan before being a business partner.