Propaganda offensive against CPEC

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Mohammad Jamil
Dr Shabbir Chaudhry — a Pakistani of Kashmir origin and a British national — has been allegedly tasked by the RAW to sabotage the CPEC project. Reportedly, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had recommended the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to block his national identity card.In his lengthy treatise titled “CPEC is not a holy cow”, Chaudhry had tried to create differences between the people. He wrote, “CPEC is not a living being, yet it has also gained the status of being a holy cow; I am also among those bad guys who are perceived as disrespectful and critics of this holy cow; and demand a fair share in the benefits because it runs without permission through our land, Gilgit-Baltistan.” He concluded that there remained danger of China gaining a complete control over Gwadar after some time — a concern of those who wish to contain China. In fact, a propaganda campaign is being fueled by the detractors of Pakistan to sabotage the CPEC where many so-called analysts have raised unwarranted concerns and misconceptions against it. They express worries as to how Pakistan would pay back its loans; how the import bill would increase due to the import of machinery and equipment for CPEC projects, which will, in turn, increase the current account deficit. But this is a flawed perception, which is conceptually wrong because, in the presence of Chinese funding behind the import of equipment and machinery for power projects, Pakistan’s balance of trade can neither be affected nor lead to current account deficit. Anyhow, three-quarters of the Chinese investment would be in the form of Foreign Direct Investment while the remaining quarter would be given as a concessional loan, bearing two percent interest. Beijing has also agreed to provide Pakistan with a $5.5bn concessional loan to upgrade and modernise the Karachi-Lahore main railway line called ML-1.Recently, an Indian newspaper, Indian Express, carried an article, “Corridor of Uncertainty”, by Newsweek Pakistan’s Consulting Editor, Khaled Ahmed. He stated, “The only big thing going for an isolated Pakistan is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Unable to tackle its internal security problems — for which it now wrongly blames India — it prefers focusing on the good times the world thinks the Chinese investment of $46 billion will bring.”Many anti-Pakistan lobbies have been at work to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as they know that with the completion of its projects, Pakistan would usher into an era of progress and prosperity. Some pseudo-intellectuals and so-called liberals, wittingly or unwittingly, oppose the CPEC while others have had the penchant for self-flagellation, as they do not see anything worthwhile in Pakistan. They consider personnel of alien agencies as saints and Pakistan counterparts as sinners.What kind of freedom of expression has possessed our chattering classes, analysts and pseudo-intellectuals that know no bounds or limits? Why are they displaying it so blatantly, recklessly and self-conceitedly? Surely, freedom of expression is an open polity’s inviolable part, but in no event can this freedom be a license to badmouth Pakistan and its institutions. In no event can this be a license to undermine the security of Pakistan, as it has degenerated in this country. There are certain sacrosanct limits that have to be exercised in the civil polities, and those universally accepted norms and standards have to be adhered to in all conditions. But all those niceties are thrown out of the window by our chattering classes, as the freedom of expression is one of the most abused freedoms in Pakistan.Self-styled commentariats consider themselves Jean-Paul Sartre, who had taken an uncompromising stance against the attempt of France to keep any of its old colonies. He was called a traitor and his apartment was bombed, but the philosopher of commitment stood by Algeria; he neither flinched nor winced. In Pakistan, pygmies do not understand that Pakistan has neither occupied any country nor can it afford to espouse such ambitions. They do not realize that barring a few proverbial exceptions the entire media and intelligentsia support India’s stance whether it is Kashmir or India’s allegations that Pakistan supports militants and sponsors terrorism. They, in fact, take a particular pride in uninhibited expression, holding it up boastfully as a manifest of their independent mind. In this pursuit, indulging in self-flagellation is their first pretentious device for which they have picked on our military and intelligence agencies.With a straight face, they accuse the two establishments of adventurism in which they may or may not be involved. In a constant refrain, these chattering classes have been proclaiming that it was the army and the ISI that had trained and unleashed the jihadi fighters in the Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. But the matters are not so simple and straight. Surely, our rulers of the time must take the blame for providing the piggyback to the American adventurists and warlords to take on the Soviet invaders in Afghanistan with lethal proxies to avenge their own humiliating debacle in Vietnam. But it was the American hand and Arab monies that were in play in this adventurism and not Pakistan’s security establishment that had just a secondary role. It was CIA that was principal arms supplier and recruiter of jihadis for fighting American proxy war. Many anti-Pakistan lobbies have been at work to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as they know that with the completion of its projects, Pakistan would usher into an era of progress and prosperity. Some pseudo-intellectuals and so-called liberals, wittingly or unwittingly, oppose the CPEC while others have had the penchant for self-flagellation, as they do not see anything worthwhile in Pakistan. They consider personnel of alien agencies as saints and Pakistan counterparts as sinners.Even Osama bin Laden was their find. At this point in time when Pakistan faces threats to its internal and external security, attempts are being made to create fissures and disharmonies between the state organs. Of course, differences of views in various state institutions are a normal phenomenon in almost all the countries of the world even in established functioning democracies. Anyhow, the nation today finds itself divided on various planes into various segments and nationalities destroying the very roots of national cohesion and solidarity among its components. Will all the pillars of the state rise to the occasion to cobble a grand unity to face the challenges the nation faces? Finally, it is the responsibility of the government to defend its institutions, because in the case of internal chaos and anarchy and also attack from a hostile country, it is the armed forces that have to defend. So do not make a mistake of demoralising the military or create fissures in Pakistan’s institutions.

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