CPEC: Not burden but an opportunity

AS voices are raised against the CPEC with some describing it as a burden on Pakistan while others associating it as the one having military dimensions, there is a need to undertake an in-depth review and realistic analysis as to what Pakistan has gained in economic terms by addressing its power crisis and developing modern road infrastructure ever since the launch of this mega project.
If we go back five years ago, the country was faced with serious energy crisis and nobody was ready to invest in Pakistan due to poor security situation. It was China which while reposing confidence on the potential of the country came forward to help the country wriggle out of the energy crisis and develop state of the art infrastructure in order to bolster trade within the region. Since then, 11 projects have been completed while another 11 projects are under construction. The total investment of these 22 projects is around 18.9 billion dollars. There are 20 more projects in the pipeline. As a result of these projects, Pakistan managed to cope with prolonged power outages and running the wheels of its industry which definitely is and will continue to contribute to the economy in the years to come. With the construction of motorways and expressways we have become the country having the most modern road infrastructure in the region and the complete operationalization of Gwadar will make it hub of trade in the entire region. The two countries are also in negotiations to build a modern railway system from Karachi to Peshawar which is another step in achieving greater connectivity in the region. The establishment of special economic zones under the project will promote industrialization and help provide thousands of jobs to our youth. Already CPEC projects have created more than 75,000 direct job opportunities for Pakistani people. According to a report by Deloitte in 2017, CPEC will create 700,000 jobs for Pakistan from 2015 to 2030. Now our new government has further expanded the scope of the CPEC by including subjects such as development of agriculture sector which will help the country learn from Chinese experience and bolster its agri yield. Thus, economically, it is a project that will bring joint development to the two countries; and socially, it is aimed at mobilizing the people to work together for the betterment of our two nations. Thus, Pakistan has lost nothing but gained a lot as a result of this mega project. We are confident that the two countries will further gear up their efforts towards early realisation of all the projects under the CPEC and work hand in hand in order to thwart all the designs and plots of the enemies against this game changer project.

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