The Long Term Plan (LTP) of CPEC is formally launched on Monday. This document can be seen as an executive summary of the core areas of cooperation between Beijing and Islamabad. The LTP document maintains three phases of collaboration that will last till 2030. The government of Pakistan deserves appreciation on the release of the LTP of the project. Making information of LTP and other related documents public will increase accountability and trust. Availability of the information regarding CPEC will also allow experts to identify any discrepancy in the projects or their harmful effects, if there are any, on people’s lives. It is true that people’s access to all information related to CPEC will help in countering the negative propaganda against the projects; however, there are few things that the government needs to clarify.
First, there was a suspicion that the government was entertaining Chinese request to allow Chinese currency in Pakistani market. While initially, the government dismissed the notion that any such idea was floating between the two sides, nevertheless, talking to media-persons after LTP’s launch Ahsan Iqbal, indicated that the government might allow Yuan for bilateral trade between China and Pakistan.
Furthermore, Minister for Planning and Development insisted that it was not against Pakistan’s interests. Instead, he opined that it would benefit the country as well as the business community of the country, though the minister did not explain how using the Yuan, if the two sides agree upon the proposal, would help Pakistan’s economy. The government needs to elaborate on the benefits of any such scheme to investors, businessmen, and common people using cold, hard economic terms and infallible numbers. Failing to so would give credibility to all other fears and suspicions of the people regarding the project. Inability to give a logical explanation will provide further room to the narrative of “Chinese takeover of Pakistan,” and it will continue to find traction.