By Hafiza Faiza Abbas
The history of Pak-China relations can be traced back since 1950. Both China and Pakistan managed their relationship in a very productive and expressed way. Despite confusion over some issues, especially during the first half of 1950s and 1970s, impacted the ties, but the two nations never let them altogether spoiled. Both of them helped each other at the crucial times. Pakistan helped China to connect to the world. Pakistani air space was opened for Chinese airline and PIA made travel easy for Chinese.On the other hand, China also supported Pakistan during the times of need and helped Pakistan build its military and economic capabilities, especially Heavy Mechanical Complex, Taxila in 1968, Ordinance Factory in East Pakistan in 1970 and Aeronautical Complex (Javaid and Jahangir, 2015). During the sanctions imposed by USA in 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, China helped Pakistan in every field. USA also left Pakistan after the Afghanistan war and Pakistan had to face many problems on the economic front. At that time China came forward to help Pakistan.
CPEC(China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) is the very important and joint venture of Pakistan and China. This is known fact that paradigm of power has been shifting towards the east from the west. Now the world will no longer remain uni-polar, soon it would become bipolar, due to coming forth soft economic Sino-Power. Besides India, some European Union (EU) countries do not feel comfortable with the CPEC-based growing relationships. Background interaction with policy makers in Islamabad and elsewhere has revealed that these countries consider that at the end of the day Pakistan can straighten its political and economic focus on China, instead of Europe and USA. CPEC project symbolizes the growing mutuality of interest and the vision of a shared politico-economic future on the part of two neighboring countries that has nothing to do with UK-EU fears. It creates a new framework of interaction on the basis of economic connectivity and regional cooperation which will have far reaching positive implications for the two countries.
The proposed CPEC project recognizes the new realities of global and regional politics by cultivating a more systematic, up-graded and need-based interaction for socio-economic, industrial, energy and trade development. This also provides an opportunity to China and Pakistan to improve their interaction with Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Both Pakistan and China are expected to gain from the proposed connectivity through highways, railways, sea-lanes, energy pipelines and electricity transmission lines. They will equally contribute to the socio-economic development of other countries that become part of these arrangements. The list of priorities in energy sector projects calculates a total capacity of 10400 MW of power generation in Pakistan at an estimated cost of $15,506 million. Both the sides have entered into serious considerations to evaluate return on the projects and risk management. The primary focus is thermal and wind power in order to put them into operation by the year 2017-18. The hydro power projects are imagined to be operational around 2020.
China and Pakistan have developed strong mutual trust through the multilayered two-sided interaction over the last six decades. This experience reveals that “there are no contradictions in the strategic and political goals of Pakistan and China, and they have found out over the years that their relationship is mutually rewarding”. Currently, there is a new ball-game of interdependence in international and regional politics and positive connectivity with immediate neighbors. This will require changes in Pakistan’s foreign policy strategy that has, in the past, preferred closer economic ties, trade and security interaction with the far-away states. Now, Pakistan will be required to cultivate more active relations with the immediate neighbors for sharing energy and pursuing economic development and trade. This will give a major boost to Pakistan’s economy.
CPEC, however, is a game changer. This phrase is commonly used in one sense: so much investment coming in and Pakistan will surely surge to middle-income status on its back. In a slightly less obvious sense is the corridor’s game-changing design. CPEC is a state-to-state cooperation agreement. The governments of Pakistan and China are the ones reflecting over its modalities. At our end, multi-party conferences and the occasional chief ministerial-level meetings have no de jure authority over the actual projects. To put this in simpler terms, CPEC is a centralizing force in Pakistan’s political system that places a lot of eggs in the federal government’s basket.
The major reality is that china is going to invest in Pakistan’s history’s ever biggest FDI in Pakistan, the country which is facing economic uncertainty since 1970’s. Therefore Fabian tactics are required to carry on the project and to counter with the Machiavellian strategy of competitors. Therefore, it is high time to join the hand of government for the sake of the country’s development and for the sake of a nation’s prosperity.
By Hafiza Faiza Abbas