Pakistani and Chinese workers at the site of a Belt and Road project in northern Pakistan. Photo: AFP
Pakistani and Chinese workers at the site of a Belt and Road project in northern Pakistan. Photo: AFP

A draft plan for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has been released, revealing in detail the focus of the initiative, reports Pakistani English-language news outlet Dawn.

Thousands of acres of land will be leased to Chinese firms to set up “demonstration projects” focusing on areas such as seed varieties and irrigation technology.

The deal also includes cooperation on public safety, with China to help implement a system of monitoring and surveillance including 24 hour video recordings of roads and marketplaces in cities such as Peshawar and Karachi.

A national fiberoptic network will support broadband internet and television, and local television providers will cooperate with Chinese media firms in the “dissemination of Chinese culture.”

According to dawn’s reading of the plan, it “envisages a deep and broad-based penetration of most sectors of Pakistan’s economy as well as its society by Chinese enterprises and culture. Its scope has no precedent in Pakistan’s history in terms of how far it opens up the domestic economy to participation by foreign enterprises.”

Chinese firms that seek to expand their presence in Pakistan include household appliance manufacturer Haier, telecom giants ChinaMobile and Huawei, and miner China Metallurgical Group Corporation.

The plan also hopes to facilitate market entry for firms in sectors such as textiles, construction, and agriculture technology.

The clear emphasis of the plan is on agriculture, a natural priority as Beijing hopes to improve food security.

“Enterprises entering agriculture will be offered extraordinary levels of assistance from the Chinese government. They are encouraged to ‘[m]ake the most of the free capital and loans’ from various ministries of the Chinese government as well as the China Development Bank. The plan also offers to maintain a mechanism that will ‘help Chinese agricultural enterprises to contact the senior representatives of the Government of Pakistan and China’, Dawn writes on the plan.