Improving security must for completion of CPEC Projects

Zubair Qureshi

Improving the security situation is imperative for quick pace and completion of the work on Gwadar Port and other China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

Pakistan cannot afford sabotage incidents like those in Gwadar, Karachi, and Dasu recently, and must act swiftly to prevent them in future.

Participants of a webinar titled ‘Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) vs Build Back Better World (B3W): Where does Pakistan Stand?’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) expressed these views.

They were of the view though B3W was a good initiative in terms of competition yet it was too late and a bit ambiguous.

However, they said Pakistan should welcome investments from all countries.

Pakistan needs to identify and cultivate all the emerging opportunities of economic development, particularly, those being offered by regional and global development initiatives including Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) vs Build Back Better World (B3W).

In this scenario, a robust engagement with all the stakeholders and improving relevant policy framework should be the key priorities for Pakistan.

Mustafa Syed, Executive Director, Pakistan China Institute, while sharing his views about international trade diplomacy, emphasized that Pakistan needed to identify viable development projects linked with its national plan.

“Pakistan should partner with all countries as this partnership will be a win-win for all,” he said. Hassan Daud Butt, CEO, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment (BoI) explained that Pakistan had been able to showcase through BRI it could absorb investment.

“We can leverage what we know and by benefiting from BRI, where Afghanistan is a partner country, and B3W, which can provide state-of-the-art equipment, we can connect the East with the West, bringing harmony and people-to-people connections and infrastructure,” said Hassan Daud.

Dr Abid Qayum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, highlighted that under B3W, climate, health security, digital technology, and gender equity, etc. are some of the key focused areas which are quite different from what BRI offers. He added further that B3W projects would be evaluated through various different lenses such as norms on corruption, human rights, labor rights, and environmental standards.

“Pakistan is in a unique position, and It needs equally good relations with all powers in this multipolar world including China, Russia, US, EU, etc., Dr Suleri said and added that a single country or economic bloc cannot tackle global challenges.

The challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change should also remain areas of the key focus, he added.

Director China Study Centre, Institute of Strategic Studies, Dr Talat Shabbir, while giving a comparative perspective, highlighted that BRI was mostly about economic connectivity. He said that BRI relied on bilateral loans and state-guaranteed funds whereas B3W plans to mobilize bilateral, multilateral, and private sector capital and tools.

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