Pak PM Imran Khan, on Sunday, declared that Karachi Comprehensive Coastal Development Zone (KCCDZ) is going to be included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “Inclusion of the Karachi Comprehensive Coastal Development Zone in CPEC is a game-changer. Will clean up our marine habitable for fishermen, develop 20k low-income housing units and present opportunities for investors. Will put Karachi at par with developed port cities,” the Pakistani PM said.
What is KCCDZ?
It stands for Karachi Comprehensive Coastal Development Zone, its purported aim is to provide Karachi with an ultra-modern urban infra zone. During the 10th JCC, China and Pakistan both agreed to include KCCDZ in CPEC. Pakistan says that the KCCDZ is estimated to provide residential resettlement to over 20 thousand families in Karachi and that it envisages new berths to build a state-of-the-art fishing port.
China’s nefarious scheme
China already controls the Gwadar port under CPEC and it has an eye on Karachi which is an important port in South Asia. Both the ports will provide China accessibility to the Arabian sea which will ultimately diminish China’s dependency on the U.S controlled Malacca straits to channel its burgeoning trade. Additionally, by controlling both the ports, China can influence other landlocked Central Asian countries and the Iranian port of Chabahar, which India has stakes in, as a coastal outlet for trade.
A Chinese debt trap
It is going to be developed on the direct investment by China in collaboration with the Karachi Port Trust, with an expected investment worth around $3.5 billion. China is notoriously famous for this strategy where it lends a huge amount of money to economically weaker nations for infrastructure development and when the borrowing country is unable to pay back the loan, China takes over control of the infrastructure projects that it helped develop with its own money and manpower. China took over operational control and ownership of the Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka, under a 99-year lease starting from 2017, after it helped the island nation build the port.