Rana Tassaddiq Hussain
THE Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an economic project, proving to be backbone project in Pakistan, will directly benefit not only Pakistan but more than three billion people in South Asian countries. Under the CPEC plan, China is to invest 62 billion in various sectors in Pakistan for 15 years, 20 billion in 2015 to 2018, and an additional investment of billions between 2018 and 2020, will provide a significant increase in Pakistan’s gross domestic product, creating employment opportunities for thousands of people. This important project includes the establishment of economic corridors and connecting Beijing to the port of Gwadar. This strategic project will result in overcoming the energy shortage and establishing various industrial zones. A closer look at all aspects of the Pak project reveals that it is in Pakistan’s best interest.
Starting from Gwadar, this great project extends to the western regions of China. Gwadar is the best deep-water port in the world. Job opportunities will be created for millions of Pakistanis. For Pakistan, Gwadar is becoming a major trading port in the region and Pakistan is becoming an important trade and energy corridor for the north and south. CPEC is a mega-ship project that will boost Pakistan’s economy as well as its network. Grown up economically and developed Pakistan through CPEC, how enemies of CPEC can digest it? They are engaged in sabotage. The ugly face of the United States was exposed when US Deputy Secretary of State for South Asia Alice Wells warned Pakistan and openly expressed its concern over the CPEC project as it would jeopardize Pakistan’s long-term economic status. The loss and benefit will only be to China.
During his visit to Pakistan, Ellis Wells had informed the Pakistani media in private and off-the-record meetings about the US concerns against the project. In his address, he said that China was returning to Pakistan under the guise of CPEC and Pakistan would not be able to repay the loans on the strict terms. According to Ellis Wells, CPEC is being taken as a grant in Pakistan while the reality is the opposite. United States offered Pakistan a better model in case of separation from CPEC, which Pakistan rejected. Rejecting US criticism and allegations against CPEC, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing clarified that CPEC is a manifestation of Pak-China friendship which has provided direct employment to 75,000 Pakistanis and China will not demand repayment of the loan from Pakistan like Western countries.
Now severe attempts are being made to sabotage the country through various rumours and propaganda by US and India, which includes: (i) Creating misinformation campaign under which questions were raised about the usefulness of this project. (ii) To create political turmoil in Pakistan and to sabotage unshakable commitment. (iii) Third and most dangerous aspect to prove it by defaming Pakistan through extremism and terrorism that is country is a hotbed of extremists and terrorists and it was a blow to foreign investment in Pakistan. Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was arrested by Pakistan secret and military agencies from Baluchistan, was disturbing the peace of the province through BLA and terrorist attacks, sectarian and linguistic riots in other parts of the country through BLA.
China’s influence in the region is growing day by day and China’s economy has grown exponentially since 1978. Since the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) flagship program, the United States, taking it as a threat to its global superiority, has begun to formulate strategies to counter the growing economic and defence power. Credit goes to the political and military leadership of the time for understanding the long-term strategic benefits of common interest China and Pakistan are direct stakeholders while other countries of the world are interested in joining this project. Pakistani armed forces are fully prepared to protect CPEC. There a dire need to focus on Pakistan’s foreign policy. Pak-China friendship is advancing with each passing day, which, some foreign powers can’t digest.