While I write this peace, a disclaimer is in order. I am Indian and it’s in our best interest that Pakistan learns the language of trade instead of the dialects dictated by Khaki .
CPEC is a great project that will achieve enables, quickest and cheapest access to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea to China. Its influence over Pakistan will almost make it immune to threat of a blockade in Malacca strait and its manufacturing goods will find a direct route to Middle East, Africa and Europe.
However, none of this actually helps Pakistan at all. For all the benefits to China its Pakistan that is footing a bill for the CPEC. While the 50 Billion dollar influx of money from Beijing to Islamabad has been termed as an investment, it’s just a loan.
Chinese banks are forwarding this loan to Chinese companies for doing work in Pakistan for which Pakistan is liable pay back.
However, one can still take the solace that the new power plants and the better highways will lay foundation for a new nation and local economy may blossom as a result of them. But for that to happen there needs to be smaller industrial hubs that can grow big with the right circumstances. Sadly is the Sino-Pak relation to blame. Pakistan has signed a free trade treaty with China – this implies the Chinese Industry can market its product in Pakistan without any local protection to the local industries.
One will be only naïve to think that in any segment Pakistan can even hope to compete with the Chinese Industry, not with the OBOR and CPEC making access to markets from Peshawar to Karachi ever so easier for factories all over China.
Pakistan does not have institutes and educational base to create a service industry. That leaves only agriculture to be a viable industry for the citizens of Pak state.
In its article on Jun 21, 2017https://www.dawn.com/news/1333101 Khurram Husain hints at the same possibility. He says that “the main thrust of the plan actually lies in agriculture, contrary to the image of CPEC as a massive industrial and transport undertaking, involving power plants and highways”
He further details “From provision of seeds and other inputs, like fertiliser, credit and pesticides, Chinese enterprises will also operate their own farms, processing facilities for fruits and vegetables and grain. Logistics companies will operate a large storage and transportation system for agrarian produce.”
The idea is for Pakistani awam to grow the produce which will be processed by Chinese conglomerates and exported. While the Chinese firms will fulfill orders processed by their global HQ, actual money that will come to Pakistan will be at lowest end of the supply chain.
India and Pakistan trace their origin to the same corporate lust called East India Company. The Company profited from getting raw produce from India (mostly cotton) having it processed to clothes in Britain (or from its owned factories in Kanpur) and then selling the products back to India at low prices which made local industries bankrupt.
While the people in charge in Delhi seem to know their history, those in Islamabad have extended sovereign guarantees will ensure that Pakistani awam is going to serve Chinese interest for a long time.