Despite the extremely flowery description of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), not many details have been revealed about the procedure and policies of the agreement. Several senators had been expressing their concern over the maintenance of secrecy of the matter. As a result, Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Bizenjo on Friday revealed to the senators that 91 percent of the profits generated by the Gawadar port will go to China, while, Pakistan will get only nine percent of the profit shares for the next 40 years. The project, according to the minister, is based on a build-operate and transfer model spread over 40 years.

This is a cause of concern for several parliamentarians because they believe that China is getting undue advantage of the initiative, and rightly so. The details of the initiative have been kept under the wraps and a guise of prosperity and profits and development has been sold to the Pakistani populace and policy makers as well. The investment is a big deal for Pakistan, especially when there have been talks of diplomatic isolation of Pakistan. China’s decision to invest in Pakistan gives the country the needed boost. However, the deal is quite lopsided because China is being offered many subsidies in return for implementing a smaller chunk of their larger scheme.

Senator Kaloom Parveen of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) pointed out that the agreement is not based on equal terms and Pakistan would be exploited as a result. She even urged the Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani to convene a meeting, so that all relevant departments who signed the agreement be present. Raza Rabbani ignored the possibility of questioning and instead advised her to take her request to the already functioning relevant CPEC committees in the Senate.

At the same time, the two committees that the Senate chairman is referring to; if you look at their constitution, it is not difficult to see that no Baloch has been appointed as the chairman of either of the two committees. This decision is problematic, especially when Balochistan plays a very crucial part in the materialisation of CPEC in Pakistan. Senator Sardar Azam Musakhel of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) also pointed this out during the session.

Pakistan has already witnessed the bitter history of taking over the Baloch resources. Is it a good idea to tread on the same path with such an initiative in Gawadar? At the same time, the details of such a mega project cannot be kept secret. The fact that the populace stumbles upon one revelation after another is highly problematic.