As per reports, China is building a city for 5,00,000 Chinese nationals in Pakistan at a cost of $ 150 million in Gwadar as a part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This will be the first such Chinese city in South Asia. According to a report by the Economic Times, the proposed city housing half a million Chinese will come up by 2022. It will help China to house its workforce for the financial district that it is planning to set up in the port city of Gwadar.
This city is set to be a gated zone, and only the Chinese will live in this zone. This virtually means that China is going to own a colony in Pakistan. China-Pakistan Investment Corporation has reportedly bought the 3.6 million square feet international port city and is going to start building the gated zone for the anticipated 5,00,000 strong Chinese workforce which will be located here by 2022. China already has such sub-cities which exclusively cater to the Chinese nationals in Africa and Central Asia. It is being alleged that it is now acquiring such territories in eastern Russia and northern Myanmar as well. Such exclusive zones for the Chinese have also been led to resentment among the local. It seems that our terrorist neighbour is also becoming increasingly vulnerable to dangerous Chinese influence.
CPEC is the most important project as far as Pakistan’s spluttering economy is concerned. Pakistan is at the mercy of China in order to revive its economy which is in shambles. China in turn is looking at this as an opportunity to gain considerable influence in the region. Beijing has been investing in Pakistan’s pipelines, railways, highways, power plants, industrial areas and mobile networks in order to advance the geographical mid-way link for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Moreover, about 20 CPEC projects worth over $27 billion are under the process of implementation across Pakistan.
China has gained unprecedented influence in Pakistan and now the setting up of an exclusive Chinese zone within Pakistan much like a colony shows how China is directly impinging upon Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty and integrity. The Chinese move of setting up its colony in Pakistani port city of Gwadar resembles to a large extent the manner in which the English came to colonise India. The Chinese exclusive zone in Gwadar could very well turn out to be Pakistan’s Fort Williams. The 70-hectares Fort had turned out to be the foundation of the English imperialism in India and the Chinese colony in Pakistan bears striking similarity to the same.
The way this gated zone is going will make Pakistanis feel like foreigners/ intruders on their very own soil also suggests the birth of apartheid in Pakistan. The Chinese are going to assert their supremacy over Pakistani locals and natives. But Pakistan will have to tolerate the Chinese excesses and even blatant discrimination. It is too weak to do anything about it. Pakistan which never kept economic and social progress in mind is trapped in a debt crisis and is totally at the mercy of Chinese. In the fiscal year 2017-18, Pakistan received $4.5 billion worth of loans from China apart from $ 1.5 billion trade facility. In the preceding year, China had extended $ 3.9 billion worth of loans from China. Therefore, in the garb of CPEC China has been doling out loans to the Islamic nation and has been crippling its sovereignty. Notwithstanding its shoddy and brief history, Pakistan is moving towards its darkest phase.