Directions (1-7): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions that follow.
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) mega project has been widely welcomed in Pakistan as a game changer. The core of the project is a 2,500-km road and rail link, which will connect the port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea to the Chinese city of Kashgar in Central Asia. The Chinese government, the principal sponsor, says it
will invest $46 billion on the project.
The money will be spent not just on the road and rail link but also on a host of other infrastructure projects. These include an expansion of Gwadar port and a new international airport in the city. Also included are several power projects based on coal and renewable energy that will add about 10.4GW to Pakistan’s power grid. Oil and gas pipelines are in the offing as well.
There can be no dispute that the CPEC is a game changer. Pakistan’s faltering economy will get a huge boost. China will get access to a warm water port. Shipping time and cost for exports from Western China will be reduced. Oil and gas will be offloaded at Gwadar and piped along the corridor to China.
The announcement of the project shone a bright light in the gloom that surrounds the Pakistani economy. Elation is the order of the day. There is broad consensus that CPEC is an unqualified “good.” But could it be that, dazzled by the light, we have neglected to conduct a rigorous analysis of this mega project and what it means to Pakistan?
In a deal like this emotions have to be set aside. There is no doubt that China has been a strong and constant supporter of Pakistan throughout our history. But it should also be clear that when it makes investment decisions such as the proposed $46 billion CPEC it makes them in the cold light of its self-interest — as one would expect from any responsible nation. And as a responsible nation, conscious of its sovereignty and self-respect, Pakistan should also apply the same standard to its assessment of the project.
Clearly the advantages of the CPEC are many, significant, and undeniable. But are there any aspects that may be detrimental to our interests in the long term? The first issue that comes to mind is sovereignty.
By leasing out vast tracts of land in the city of Gwadar and all along the route of the corridor, we in fact transfer sovereignty of some of our territory to a foreign power. And this is no ordinary foreign power. China is an emerging superpower with global ambitions. Have we built into the deal the necessary safeguards that will allow us to retain
control of our territory if circumstances change?
It is proposed that most of the construction work will be done by thousands of Chinese workers. Does this make sense for Pakistan given widespread and painful unemployment? Would it not be in our interest to have Pakistanis do the work? Should contracts not include provisions for contractors to train and employ Pakistani workers and engineers?
As a global manufacturing powerhouse China plans to bring all or most of the equipment it needs for projects from its own suppliers. But would not our interest be better served if we insisted on having equipment made in Pakistan? Part of the proposed investment should be diverted to setting up factories inside Pakistan to supply the diverse range of equipment and machinery to the various CPEC projects.
Have we asked the right questions in regard to the financing? Forty-six billion dollars is a lot of money. Is it a grant or gift to Pakistan? Is it a loan? If the latter, what is the payback period and the applicable rate? What happens if there is a default? Have the tariff rates payable to Pakistan for use of port facilities, road and rail links, and oil and
gas pipelines been established and agreed?
These and a whole range of other issues must be addressed when so much is at stake. But it seems that the euphoria of attracting this mega project has perhaps distracted us from the imperative of due diligence and the rigorous risk based cost benefit analysis that this entails.
Let there be no doubt: The CPEC is wonderful news for Pakistan. But it must move forward with its eyes wide open. And with a full understanding of not only the rewards that the project holds for Pakistan, but also the possible pitfalls that may lie in wait for us.
1. “Elation is the order of the day.” Which of the following best elaborates the given statement?The CPEC project is likely to bridge the gaps between India and China.The CPEC project is likely to enhance the infrastructure of the neighboring countries.The project is likely to result in the withdrawal of support that Pakistan has always received from China.The project has brought about a ray of hope for the Pakistani economy.None of the aboveOption D
The author uses the sentence in the fourth paragraph. It can be traced in the initial lines of the para, ‘The announcement of the project shone a bright light in the gloom that surrounds the Pakistani economy. Elation is the order of the day.’
The passage talks about the support that China shows towards Pakistan but it doesn’t make a mention of the withdrawal of the same.
The line preceding the question sentence makes it clear that it is with respect to the ray of hope that has been lit with respect to the Pakistani economy.
- According to the passage, which of the following terms can be used to define the relationship between China and Pakistan?
DefensiveSupportingPrivateBoth A and BBoth B and COption B
“There is no doubt that China has been a strong and constant supporter of Pakistan throughout our history.” This line from the passage proves that option B is the correct answer.
- According to the passage, which of the following is lacking on Pakistan’s part with respect to the CPEC proposal?
Self-assessmentAcceptanceDenialBoth A and BBoth B and COption A
The last line of the fifth paragraph states ‘And as a responsible nation, conscious of its sovereignty and self-respect, Pakistan should also apply the same standard to its assessment of the project’ which makes option A the correct answer.
- Which of the following, that can be inferred from the passage, highlights China’s vested interests?
A blunt ‘no’ to the Indian workforceThe decision to be its own supplier of equipmentSetting up factories, in Pakistan, to procure the final equipmentNo signs of answerability regarding the investmentNone of the aboveOption B
The first line of the eighth paragraph, ‘As a global manufacturing powerhouse China plans to bring all or most of the equipment it needs for projects from its own suppliers.’ supports option B.
- According to the passage, which of the following is TRUE?
The magnetizing power of the project has blind-folded the parties, except China.China plans to use materials produced in Pakistani industries.The CPEC project intends to bring India closer to Pakistan and China.Both B and CA, B and COption A
Option A is true since the author states that Pakistan needs to self-assess the project and not be in the awe of the support that China has always extended towards the nation because a responsible nation always thinks of its benefits first when it comes to investment.
- Which of the following is the MOST OPPOSITE in meaning to ‘consensus’?
‘Accord’ means to give or grant someone (power, status, or recognition).
‘Agreement’ means harmony or accordance in opinion or feeling.
‘Consent’ is the permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.
‘Unanimity’ is an agreement by all people involved; consensus.
‘Disagreement’ means lack of consensus or approval. Whereas, ‘consensus’ is a general agreement.
- Which of the following is the MOST OPPOSITE in meaning to ‘imperative’?
‘Indispensible’ means absolutely necessary.
‘Exigent’ means pressing or demanding.
‘Pressing’ means requiring quick or immediate action or attention.
‘Vital’ means absolutely necessary.
‘Optional’ means available to be chosen but not obligatory. Whereas, ‘imperative’ means of vital importance.
The spring stock (came to hand) last week.Very lowVery highHands onReceivedNone of the aboveOption D
The idiom ‘come to hand’ means to become available; be received.
- She won the championship (hands down).
Easily and decisivelyBy cheatingBy following all rulesBy deliveringNone of the aboveOption A
The idiom ‘hands down’ should not be confused with the verb phrase ‘hand down’. ‘Hand down’ means ‘to deliver’ or ‘to bequeath to posterity’. But the idiom used here is ‘hands down’, which means ‘indisputably’ or incontestably’.
- They (broke camp) at dawn and proceeded towards the mountains.
Resumed their journeyLooted the campStarted campingBroke camping equipmentsNone of the aboveOption A
‘Break camp’ means to pack the equipment and tents and resume the journey.
Directions(8-10): In the given sentence, an idiom/phrase is printed in bold. Choose the option which best expresses its meaning.