CPEC, an historic initiative to help Pakistan attract investors, create jobs
Zubair Qureshi Islamabad
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)-the flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the crystallization of the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between China and Pakistan.
This was said by eminent Chinese scholar Prof Dr Wang Yiwei at a dialogue titled “Role of BRI in China Pakistan relation development in the past decade.”
The dialogue was attended by a large number of journalists, scholars, experts and academicians working on CPEC research projects.
Keynote speaker and the Jean Monnet Chair, Director of Institute of International Affairs, Director of Center for European Studies at Renmin University of China Wang Yiwei said that the reality of the CPEC was reflected in the “four pillars:” Energy, infrastructure, ports and development zones.
Dr Wang elaborated that there were five major benefits of the corridor: China-Pakistan cooperation encourages more countries to learn from China; industrial transfer stimulates a third wave of the rise of Asia; connecting Eurasia and the Indian Ocean brings together the two prongs of the B&R initiative; the spillover effect of the CPEC improves trilateral cooperation between China, Pakistan, India in development, security and governance; and a solution is found to the vicious circle of poverty and tribal violence, especially by practical cooperation between China, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
He told that sustainable development was key to the success of the corridor and various aspects of construction must be synchronized.
In terms of bilateral and multilateral relations, the CPEC is the crystallization of the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between China and Pakistan, two communities with a shared future. But beyond bilateral limitations, multilateral radiation and incentives mean Iran, Afghanistan and even Western countries like Britain and France want to join the project, added Wang.
While addressing the dialogue, Dr Fazal-ur-Rahman Director at Pakistan Institute of China Studies in Sargodha University said that the CPEC project is a historic initiative which will help the country attract investors and create jobs, along with business opportunities for locals.
With the promise of international opportunities and unlimited resources, Pakistan has embarked on a journey of economic growth.
For a country on the verge of becoming a strengthened economy, Pakistan has solidified its foundations, embracing the framework of regional connectivity through the Pakistan China Economic Corridor, said Dr Fazal.
Another speaker Dr Tahir Mumtaz, head of China Study Center, COMSATS University said that CPEC includes a number of initiatives in Pakistan.
Being the last land-stop before the Arabian sea, Gwadar has always been considered as a goldmine for possessing the geographical characteristics of a natural deep sea port, said Dr Tahir
It is now the central nexus on which all of CPEC is geared towards, however, connecting a path from this edge of the Pakistan all the way to China meant developing a mammoth transportation network. This is where One Belt One Road (OBOR) comes in.
CPEC will also contribute towards the improvement of people’s lives in Pakistan and China by promoting bilateral connectivity, construction projects, economic and trade opportunities, logistics and local trade in the region.
CPEC will open doors to immense economic opportunities not only to Pakistan but will physically connect China to the markets of Asia, Europe and beyond, stated Dr Tahir
Dr Tahir also said that as the next stage of CPEC development starts, private investors and firms are flocking to Gwadar with their expertise, experience and capital to make the most of this unprecedented opportunity.
Sabah Aslam , Executive director at Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution said that it has been a very significant to witness that since the CPEC was first conceived years ago, the mega project became a ground reality.
So far, the project has ushered long lasting and positive results for Pakistan and China. Its first phase of early harvest projects worth USD 19 billion is almost complete now and the results are in front of all, she said.
Reema Shaukat, communication strategist Institute of Regional Studies said that the BRI is an enormous initiative of connecting Asia with Central Asian Republics, Far East, Middle East, Africa and Europe.
The Belt pertains to land routes while the Road is all about sea routes. Pakistan is fortunate to have BRI’s flagship project CPEC-China-Pakistan Economic Corridor entailing both opportunities and challenges.
CPEC under the BRI again has two components; the land component and the sea component.
I would just like to draw your attention to the fact that it is the sea component that signifies CPEC as the land component was already there and is being either refurbished or expanded, she added.
Bringing Gwadar port and its approaches via sea into this equation has in fact turned this project into an economically viable solution for both China and Pakistan, stated Reema.