HONG KONG :
Over the years China has made several attempts to take ultimate control of the political and economic affairs of Pakistan.
Since 2016, President Xi Jinping has pushed for China China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and a CPEC authority that would bring the country’s infrastructure and power-generation projects under his direct control.
Though the proposal was rejected by the Nawaz Sharif government, it was finally accepted by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
According to an article by Ali Salman Andani published in the Asia Times, Khan, a puppet of the military establishment, was able to manipulate the law to fulfil Xi’s desires to control the Planning Ministry of Pakistan.
“I consider Pakistan’s Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives as one of the most crucial state institutions, whose senior bureaucrats could implicitly scrutinise and resist Xi’s draconian CPEC scheme, as they had access to all of the secret documents on the agreement and were involved, directly and indirectly, in the decision-making process,” Andani opined.
“So long as the reins were under the control of civilian institutions led by representatives of the people and civil servants, thorough accountability of Xi’s master plan at least at some level and at some point in time – if not at once – was possible. Sidelining the civil institutions altogether would allow Xi to play on both sides of the board,” he said.
Questioning the nature of the deal, the author said that the secretary of maritime affairs refused to show the highly confidential agreement to even the Senate Standing Committee on Finance.
The article stated that by 2050 Xi plans to have ultimate control of the majority of the emerging-market economies.
Andani said, “Xi doesn’t want the Belt and Road Initiative or any of its components to be held accountable or face resistance. He knows that his Chinese Dream of indoctrination of a majority of free people of the world by 2050 will not be fulfilled if the people of the countries victimised by the BRI come to know about his strategy to destroy their futures and those of their future generations.”
He said that the CPEC authority will be the Communist Party of China’s (CPC’s) authorised representative in Pakistan responsible for conceiving, implementing, expanding, enforcing, controlling, regulating, coordinating, monitoring, evaluating and carrying out all activities related to the CPEC.
The CPEC authority will also the constitutional power to initiate any investigation or even impose penalties against any public office holder, including the Prime Minister and President of Pakistan, or those directly or indirectly involved in CPEC-related activities wilfully resisting directions, instructions or specified orders, Andani said while adding, “Even the Prime Minister’s powers will be limited to what is specified in the CPEC Authority Bill 2020. So he too will have to obey Xi’s commands.”
“The truth is that Xi is burdening those countries in debt traps while they are already suffering from intense balance-of-payments crises. Xi will slowly poison Pakistan and other poor economies by creating extreme shortages of foreign-exchange reserves. In the end, these countries will have to accept the invasion of their political and economic systems by the Communist Party of China,” he said.
The author opined that the “selected” government of Pakistan is fulfilling Xi’s dreams at the cost of the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom of its people.