The robust growth of business and commercial activities being witnessed in Qalandarabad, a small town in Mansehra district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, is an example of how China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is transforming economic landscapes of the areas it covers.
In Qalandarabad, a town between Abbottabad and Mansehra, the M-15 (Hazara Motorway of CPEC) connects with the historic N35 (Karakoram Highway or China-Pakistan Friendship Highway). This junction has become a new centre of economic activities as people from the surrounding hilly areas as well as Kohistan district of K-P have started settling here in search of better livelihood.
“The town has grown enough during the past few years after the inauguration of CPEC M-15 and people do not need to travel to Mansehra or Abbottabad for shopping now,” a trader said.
Safdar Hussain, a local resident, said that a few years back, this small town was famous for its German-run charity hospital, Bach Christian Hospital, but now it is known for its growing commercial activities.
He said that Hazara Motorway not only improved financial position of local investors but also motivated outsiders to establish their businesses in the town.
“The town is growing so fast that it might compete with the historic cities of Mansehra and Abbottabad soon,” he claimed.
Qalandarabad Trade Union President Malik Amjad said that although local population is not much, the town has become a pivot for more than 25 union councils of Mansehra and many others of Abbottabad, due to which the business activities are galloping.
Nisar Ahmed, a grocery store owner, said that there were only a few scattered grocery stores in Qalandarabad, but now it has multi-storey commercial plazas where everything is available for customers.
Naseema Bibi, a customer from Behali union council, said that she did not like traveling to Mansehra for shopping, which was not only hectic but also time consuming.
“However, after CPEC passed from the area, the town has grown enough. Now, I do not need to go elsewhere for shopping,” she said.
THE ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THE CHINA ECONOMIC NET
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2022.