CPEC: Gateway to Pakistan’s Development | By Asad Ali

CPEC: Gateway to Pakistan’s Development

Traditionally, China and Pakistan have cooperated closely at strategic and political levels. Now the two nations are making efforts to expand their bilateral collaboration economically as well.

The construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a milestone that signifies this shift. The two countries had signed this landmark agreement during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Islamabad back in 2015.

The CPEC is a large package of investment projects, potentially totaling more than $55 billion (19 percent of FY2015/16 GDP) over the next decade, aimed at upgrading infrastructure, boosting and diversifying energy supply and improving regional trade connectivity thereby stimulating investment. The estimated size of CPEC is likely to change overtime.

strategic ties between two iron brothers are at highest level apart from the change in government in Islamabad. No matter who governs Pakistan, the strategic partnership between Islamabad and Beijing continues to grow massively. Their bilateral ties are time tested as whenever Pakistan need economic, political and military assistance, China always provides within no time.

The CPEC is extending various benefits to Pakistan and being considered as backbone of Islamabad’s economy.

Interestingly, the CPEC is not specifically limited to economy, it also covers political and military cooperation as well.

Under the CPEC, China will invest over 55 billion dollars in Pakistan to uplift the economic conditions of Pakistan. The two countries are also working tirelessly to further enhance their existing bonhomie by increasing bilateral trade.

In the past few years, Pakistan has been facing dire energy shortage and substantial underinvestment in infrastructure.

Pakistani policymakers estimate the cost of these challenges to the economy at about two per cent of GDP per annum.

To meet this glaring challenge, Pakistan asked China for the assistance. Ultimately, China comes to rescue Pakistan to execute these shortages.

Under the CPEC projects, China is building dams, roads, power plants and developing strategically pivotal port of Gawadar.

China is also targeting some core areas to develop Exclusive Economic Zones in different parts of the country.

Recently, Chinese companies have started construction of much-delayed Bhasha Dam to meet energy needs of the country. These Chinese projects under the ambit of CPEC will give massive boost to our dwindling economy.

At the same time, Pakistan Army and other law enforcement agencies are providing maximum security to Chinese engineers, workers and installations. Pakistan Army has allocated special unit as well to maintain security of Chinese projects in different parts of the country.

Likewise, one of the prospective benefits of CPEC projects for Pakistan would be the training and development of skilled manpower.

In addition, plans have to be made to assess the long-term manpower requirements, both for construction and operational phases of CPEC projects. There are cultural aspects as well in CPEC.

Both countries are also executing cultural exchange programs to encourage direct people-to-people contacts between the two countries. Thousands of Chinese students are visiting Pakistan and Pakistan students are going to China for higher education.

Both countries are also organizing some cultural festivals as well which are meant to highlight cultural values of bilateral ties.

Alongside, these investments will provide a boost to Pakistan’s GDP. This boost will likely come in three stages: construction, power generation once the installed capacity becomes operational, and-over time-second-round effects on broader economic activity owing to increased productivity, lower costs and improved trade connectivity owing to improved infrastructure.

The first two stages (direct contribution) will likely materialize in the next several years, while the second-round effects will likely accrue more gradually and could lead to a significant contribution in the long run, although the exact impact will depend on many other supportive factors.

If implemented on schedule, these investments could help close Pakistan’s power deficit and significantly improve energy costs and the fuel mix.

Unfortunately, some elements are persistent to sabotage the efficacy of the projects under CPEC. They are going all out to derail the progress of the projects by spreading disinformation, chaos and distorted facts.

India is leading the campaign in this regard. Indian government is providing financial support to secessionist elements within Baluchistan to execute New Delhi’s nefarious designs.

Meanwhile, Pakistani defence forces are working relentlessly and are vigilant to thwart hostile approach of India. In the meantime, Islamabad has also provided actionable evidence to the international community with regard to sabotage its economic progress.

It has urged international community, organizations and human rights watchdogs to take notice of India’s involvement in Pakistan’s domestic affairs and providing financial and logistic support to non-state actors in Baluchistan. The consolidated response from international community is still awaited. It is pertinent to mention here that, involvement of any country in internal affairs of any sovereign state is blatant violation of international norms and practices.

The world must press India to stop its illegal activities in Pakistan to fuel extremism and terrorism in the country.

Stable and peaceful Pakistan is in the interests of entire world and region as well. Instead of disrupting its economic progress, world must come forward and support Pakistan to become strong economic power in the region.

They must follow the footsteps of China for investment in the country. Abandoning Pakistan will have severe political, economic and strategic implications not only for regional but international community as well.

Therefore, all regional and international states must join CPEC and get maximum economic benefits out of it. They must not involve in any kind of hostile activity to malign CPEC in order to accomplish their political, economic and strategic objectives.

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