Earlier today, Dawn News published an exclusive article titled “CPEC master plan revealed” where the news publication claims to disclose the details from the original documents regarding the long-term plan for CPEC.

While the report covers many areas, from agriculture to the Pakistani industry, we will be highlighting some of the jaw-dropping revelations regarding the future plans of the two governments concerning the surveillance and fiber-optics in the country.

Fiber Optic Link

Fiber optic connectivity between China and Pakistan is one of the most crucial elements in the CPEC project and according to the original documents, a terrestrial cable will be laid across the Khunjerab pass to Islamabad, and a submarine landing station in Gwadar, linked to Sukkur. The two will be linked in Islamabad, as well as all major cities in Pakistan.

China has limited number of submarine landing stations and international gateway exchanges that can cause hindrance in the future Internet traffic’s growth. We can expect expanded bandwidth as a result of this move but it is yet unclear how much control would Pakistan have over the proposed fiber link network.

Broadcasting Media

With the increased bandwidth, the country could witness the terrestrial broadcast of digital HD television, termed as Digital Television Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcasting (DTMB). It will be about cooperation between the Pakistan and Chinese media to introduce the culture of our neighboring country.

Recently, CNBC reported that  China’s ZTE is expanding its partnership with Pakistan and will extend digital television services into more regions of the country, including remote mountainous areas of the country.

This move is said to enhance understanding and mutual friendship between the two countries but would we acquire this at the expense of our own culture. Pakistan already has a rich culture and dissemination of the Chinese culture might confuse the future generations. The plan doesn’t say anything about how the system will be used to control the content of broadcast media.

Monitoring & Surveillance

Previously, the safe cities project in Pakistan were completed with the technical support of Chinese company, Huawei and now seemingly the China will be creating an electronic monitoring and control system for the border in Khunjerab.

Also, under the umbrella of CPEC, more safe cities would be created by the deployment of explosive detectors and scanners that would cover major roads, case-prone areas, and crowded places in urban areas which would conduct real-time monitoring 24-hourhour video recording.

Reportedly, the signals gathered from the surveillance project would be transmitted to the command center but it’s not yet clear who would be staffed at this center, what would they be actually looking for and finally who would provide the emergency response.

According to the plan, a safe cities pilot project would be built in Peshawar and later on the program will be extended to major cities such as Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. It also hints that the feeds will be shared eventually, and perhaps would even be recorded.