CPEC: Harbinger of change, peace

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WHILST many countries are coming forward to join the multi billion dollars CPEC project, there are also forces that continue to caste aspersions on the project that is meant to enhance connectivity within and beyond the region that resultantly will change entire geo-economic landscape of the region. Just as Beijing was about to hold Silk Road forum, a top intelligence official of the US the other day spitted venom against the CPEC- the important component of the One Belt One Road visionary initiative of Chinese President Xi Jingping. During a congressional hearing, Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence, said the emergence of CPEC would allow terrorist groups more targets for attacks. In our view, the very statement of the US official is nothing but a total malice, which we also continue to hear from the Indian side as well.
Without giving consideration to real fruits that the project will accrue, the high ranking intelligence official has definitely based his argument on the assumption that increased connectivity in the region through development of road and rail links will provide an easy access to terrorist groups to move freely far and wide and hit desired targets. Contrary to the statement of US official, which was nothing but to create misconceptions amongst countries joining the project, we take the CPEC in a totally different context. We understand that the mega connectivity project which also envisages construction of special economic zones will prove to be a harbinger of change in terms of peace and prosperity in the region. Instead of providing additional targets to terrorists, it will rather cut the fuel and supplies of youth to militant groups thriving on what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan very aptly in his address to Pakistani Parliament stated. There is no denying the fact that deprivation, backwardness and poverty are one of the major causes of terrorism. Major terrorist groups exploit and brainwash these disgruntled segments of the society especially youth in order to perpetrate their sordid agenda. We believe that complete commissioning of CPEC and Gwadar port will generate such immense economic opportunities in diverse sectors that terror groups will not be able to lure the so far discontented youth into their trap. In fact, greater connectivity will also help in promoting greater dialogue amongst different nations and also help us address some of other chronic issues such as sectarianism and ethnic hatred.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that despite opposition from some countries as well as attempts to sabotage the project through acts of terror especially in Balochistan- the hub of CPEC- both Pakistan and China are firm in their resolve to complete the corridor project at the earliest. The resolve was reiterated during a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and top Chinese leadership on Saturday. According to reports, Chinese President Xi Jinping during his interaction with PM Nawaz Sharif especially called for pushing forward construction of various CPEC projects. We understand that early completion of the CPEC will be the right response to opponents who for their vested interests want to keep the region backward. The visionary initiative of One Belt, One Road in fact is not only beneficial for Pakistan and China but it will also serve as a boon for other developing countries. China is contriving to build bridges, both literal and metaphorical, which are a great offering to the world and we have no doubt in saying that no conspiracy can deter its resolve to backtrack from its visionary initiative. By taking along all the four chief ministers to the Silk Road forum, PM Nawaz Sharif has also given a positive message to China that his country fully supports the Chinese initiative.
We understand there is still need to create greater understanding amongst our masses about the mega project. This paper has made an endeavour in this regard by publishing every Wednesday a special edition on the CPEC. We expect that other media groups will also follow the suit and there is need to hold more seminars and conferences that present true picture of the CPEC and remove all misgivings. Political parties also have an important role to play in this regard.