What do we really know about CPEC?

The Pakistani people are fed a constant refrain that CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) will transform Pakistan. However, the state consistently refuses to divulge details about the projects and work that form a part of CPEC.

What is also interesting is that while in opposition the PTI of Imran Khan regularly joined the “chorus of demands for greater transparency on CPEC” but now that is in power it seeks to “keep the country in the dark.”

Recently announcements were made by Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar that the cabinet committee on CPEC had made changes with respect to projects in agriculture, education, health, poverty alleviation, water supply and vocational training. While Chinese experts were consulted, apparently Pakistan’s National Assembly is unaware of what is being planned and how the projects will be paid for.

This led the Special Committee of the Senate on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor to demand greater transparency in the execution of work. According to the chairperson of the committee, Senator Sherry Rehman “her committee gets more information from the media than it does from the government, a state of affairs that is entirely unacceptable.”

As an editorial in Dawn noted, “The Senate committee is right to emphasise its stake in the enterprise, and the government should move to allay its concerns.”

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