Pakistanis have been going to town about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor that would link their port of Gwadar to Kashgar in Xinjiang Province of China. Some Pakistani commentators have even said that soon rivers of gold would flow through Pakistan!! Really? Ok. Let’s get a reality check….. Out of this $46 billion ‘investment’ by China, $11 billion is being borrowed by Pakistan as a LOAN from China to build the road. Payback time is when it will start to hurt! The rest of the infrastructure is being made by Chinese companies which would be funded by Chinese banks. The cost the Pakistanis would therefore be paying for electricity would be around Rs18 -20 PKR per unit in contrast to an average of Rs 8 per unit what they're paying now!! After all, the Chinese companies aren't going to give their deeper-than-ocean friends any freebies as they would need to pay back their borrowings from banks including interest and make profits too! Coal plants that are planned to be set up for energy are old existing ones that will be transferred to Pakistan as the Chinese have stopped coal fired plants due to climate change issues. So Pakistan would be saddled with old stuff producing more pollution than energy!! Have they calculated the cost of transportation along this road? An average of $460 per ton or Rs 46,000 PKR per ton from Pakistan to Kashgar! That's almost Rs 5 Lakhs PKR per 10-ton truck - more than the cost of what is being transported!! Would Pakistan’s exports, which are mostly low value goods, to China along this road be viable? Not by a long shot! Gwadar will be completely controlled by China operationally as it has been leased out to them for 40 years! Pakistan’s exports from here, if any, will be heavily taxed as the Chinese companies controlling the port will need to pay back loans to their banks as well as make profit. More importantly, Pakistan’s provinces have already started fighting for the 'spoils' and putting spokes in the wheel! Like why is Sindh getting six power plants out of 11? The others are already up in arms and have threatened to scuttle the project. Vested interests will be one big speed-breaker to this project. Employment generation? Most of the workers will be Chinese. Like the 11,000 stationed permanently in GB for infrastructure development. How many Pakistanis are working with the Chinese there? Just a handful! Therefore, it's not all hunky dory as it sounds. And the Chinese, the businessmen that they are, will extract their pound of flesh from the ordinary Pakistani. There are no freebies in this world despite the 'deeper than the oceans' friendship! And, finally and most importantly, the Chinese are making this 'economic corridor' for their own strategic and national interests. Their strategic aim is to establish a PLAAN base at Gwadar to try and dominate the Strait of Hormuz from where a large proportion of the world’s oil flows. Not only the Strait of Hormuz but also to try and dominate the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. The CPEC is the only viable option for providing logistics support to their future naval base at Gwadar. Pakistan is just a side show in this project. The sooner this is realized by the Pakistanis, the better. All this talk of them achieving super power status due to the CPEC is a lot of bull and hot air.