CPEC & its importance

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Riaz Ahmad

Pakistan is developing country; the CPEC is a great opportunity to enhance Pakistan economy. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the major part of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) the pet globalization project of President Xi Jinping with roots in the great ancient and medieval Silk Roads. Besides the land routes between the Gwadar deep-sea port of Gwadar, Pakistan to Kashgar in western China (farther through China constructed rail-road infrastructure connecting with Central Asia and Russia) it also includes a major chapter of sea-based Maritime Silk Route that will be easily and cost-effectively connecting China through Gwadar to the broader Indian Ocean, the Gulf States and East Africa, all the way to Mediterranean via Red Sea, thus with North Africa and Europe. The new transit and trade facilities will not only upgrade and expand the existing Pakistani infrastructure, but it will also provide China win an alternate transit and trade route in a cost-effective manner to broader global regions rapidly as well as the infrastructure of China. The aim of the project is to connect China’s north-western region of Xinjiang to Gwadar port of Baluchistan. When completed, Pakistan will be having a massive new network of roads, highways, railways and pipelines. The road will be approximately 2700 kilometers distance from Gwadar to Kashgar. The motorway is also a part of this project, which will be about 1100 kilometers long stretching from Lahore to Karachi in addition to the Karakorum highway from Kashgar via Khunjrab Pass to Islamabad.
A train track between Peshawar and Karachi will also be built; the Karakorum highways between Rawalpindi and Chinese border shall also be extended and constructed. The network of pipelines shall also be constructed which will be used to transport liquefied natural gas and oil from Iran and the Gulf countries. The CPEC is not only about the infrastructure of (trains roads, and pipeline) it will also connect Europe and Central Asian countries with the region providing a higher level of development, as well as cultural exchanges between China and Pakistan.
The work on the project has already begun, but some problems associated with the route have caused to stop the project for a while related to the sensitivities of some provinces in Pakistan. The Chinese Premier Xi Jin-Ping emphasized the construction on an urgent basis, as Pakistani Prime minister Nawaz Sharif has also shown a keen interest in the project to start work on the urgent basis. This Corridor will also likely improve the relations between India and Pakistan. A series of work is going on to develop a consensus between Delhi and Islamabad, Beijing, and Washington DC – depending upon the policy choices of the nationalist government in India – on how to seek peace and settlement in Pakistan for the smooth running of the project and take benefit mutually. Federal Minister Mr. Ahsan Iqbal has also emphasized that CPEC will produce the equal opportunities for all region of Pakistan; he further mentioned that the CPEC is not only one road project but multi-sectoral projects such as energy, infrastructure, Gwadar and industrial sector in the country. For the smooth functioning of the project, Pakistan Army is playing its part in providing security to the project. The CPEC will restore Pakistan’s economic growth of the early 1960s which led economists at the time to predict that the country would be one of the futures leading economic powers in Asia. CPEC has a high value for both countries China and Pakistan. Due to CPEC the connectivity will open up west China to the south and contribute to “One Belt One Road” initiative policy. The establishment of communication from Kashgar to Gwadar has been agreed to be completed by 2030. Chinese Government is trying to utilize the entire necessary supporting role to enable the environment for the open economic system and logistic system in the regional vision of CPEC. The CPEC not only for China and Pakistan but will also benefit the surrounding countries. Pakistan will increase its economic growth through this project and it is the right initiative for both countries – China and Pakistan. CPEC is envisioned as a corridor of peace, prosperity and development. Although facing a lot of challenges, the Project has a significant potential of promising future. The people of Pakistan were adversely affected in the past due to inadequate opportunities and lack of right decisions. The CPEC will have a transformational impact on the state and the prosperity of the people of Pakistan. The visit of President Xi in April 2015 and Chinese commitment of $46 billion plus for various projects of CPEC, sketched the world attention to the new development and growth of the economy, and this will be the real prosperity for the both countries and will promise future for the region/the world. The Prime Minister of Pakistan held a meeting of the political leadership; all parties supported the CPEC project as well as they warmly welcome to the Chinese investment. It is seemed to be a breakthrough for Pakistan’s development and successful completion of the CPEC may generate three to four times more profit than their investment. The Corridor will boost up economic development and create new business and job opportunities which will help in the alleviation of poverty and improve the infrastructure, the energy requirements, workforce development and economic progress. CPEC is viewed as a game changer for both China-Pakistan and the entire region; economic development and regional integration will be enhanced through connectivity and partnership. It will have a positive impact on the living standard of the common people in the region by providing numerous opportunities of cooperation and development. It will address the grievances, sense of deprivation, discrimination and poor management of resources, of a different segment of the society of Pakistan. It will boost the trade and investment, exploration of mineral resources and increase the strategic and economic location of Pakistan. On the other hand, the project is important for China’s perspective as “flagship project”. It will provide the shortest route to the Middle East, Africa and Europe, thus further boosting up the economy. The accomplishment of the CPEC will help China to counter the US dominance and will also get the chance to develop its north-western province Xinjiang, which is an underdeveloped area. In Xinjiang separatist movement has started by Uyghurs. Thus, China wants to develop the socio-economic framework of that region. Only in this way, China can curtail aggressive sentiments against its central government.

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