CPEC hailed as the game changer for Pakistan is hoped to enter a new phase on November 21, 2017. Finalisation and review of the long-term plan (LTP) is the objective of Joint Cooperation Committee’s (JCC) meeting. Both sides will finalise and mark the key areas of bilateral cooperation over next thirteen years. The upcoming meeting that will be headed by ministers will be an attempt to reach final agreement on the project. It is worth recalling that the previous draft of LTP has remained unchanged which indicates that there is no rift among the federating units of Pakistan on the share of development and infrastructure as well as energy projects.
This meeting will be a comprehensive overview of the progress that has been made under the project. Not only the meeting will serve the purpose of a review exercise, but it also gives Pakistan time to raise objections, if there are any, to any project or clause in the draft of LTP that it deems not fit for Pakistan. Few experts have already objected to the content of the long-term plan’s draft that was made available to few media groups mid-June this year. While the LTP’s draft already has a detailed outline of Chinese intentions, so far Pakistani government has not taken its citizens in confidence over what the CPEC holds for Pakistan except for certain projects related to energy sector.
Speaking of what China wants to achieve through LTP includes a desire to acquire thousands of acres of agricultural land for demonstration projects in the agriculture sector. Beijing also intends, through the CPEC LTP, to lay down a net of fiber optic that will help in dissemination of Chinese culture. Through the plan, China aims to penetrate deep in most sectors of Pakistan’s economy. It is not clear so far, how Pakistan will protect its local industry from the adverse effects of superior technology and state assistance that Chinese investors will come up with.
However, despite all such reservations raised by the experts Chinese assistance in the agriculture, industrial, telecommunication, tourism, and finance sector will not only boost up the performance of these sectors, but it will also help in the recovery of the dwindling economy of Pakistan. Still, the relevant departments and ministries need to come up with a detailed study of the LPT for the upcoming meeting and ensure to take up maximum steps required for protecting local industries and sectors contributing to our economy from the negative impacts of the Chinese investments. For it is probably the last chance to make changes in the LPT before reaching a final agreement on it.