CPEC: dismissing the detractors

 

Keep your eye on the facts

 

In today’s multipolar world order states are cozying up to each other. First, to reap the fruits of joint economic cooperation and second to secure themselves in the face of global unrest along with mushroomed threats emanating from the hegemonic powers

 

 

 

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been up against lots of controversies since the idea was first conceived in 2013. A trail of fears is showered mostly by the debunking Indian narratives which unfortunately are being endorsed by our naysayers without realising the potential benefits forthcoming under the rubric of CPEC. Amidst this hoo-ha against CPEC, it is an opportune time to dispel the detractors who are busy in inculcating their rolling over hatred hyperboles into the minds of the Pakistani masses.

In today’s multipolar world order states are cozying up to each other. First, to reap the fruits of joint economic cooperation and second to secure themselves in the face of global unrest along with mushroomed threats emanating from the hegemonic powers. Following this internationally accepted truism, CPEC is making strides of success and once it is complete, it will change the fortunes of not only the Pakistanis but the rest of the regional neighbours too. Forecasting its enormous economic benefits, the whole Central Asian states including Russia are warming up to enjoy the economic ascendance through CPEC. Our neighbouring country Iran and lots of European investors are eager to invest particularly in the coastal city of Gwadar which is emerging a nucleus of the innovative commercial activities in near future. Economic trajectory of CPEC can certainly knit together South Asia, Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. More interestingly the quiet rise of Bangladesh and Nepal will likely get a boost from this game changer project, too.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have mounted as the Hindutva mindset has taken over Indian foreign policy since 2013. Indian Prime Minister Modi and the BJP’s rancour against Pakistan is reflected by the recurrent border incursions at the LoC. Labelling CPEC as an igniter between Indo-Pak relations is a bizarre analysis drawn by some circles. Indo-Pak relations must not be looked through the prism of CPEC alone. Since, the last 70 years, the UN and the international community have been winking at the atrocities in Kashmir, which is the real reason for expanding distance between both countries. If the UN sincerely wants peace to prevail between both nations, Kashmir dispute must be resolved according to its resolutions. Instead of magnifying CPEC as a source of ignition between India and Pakistan, international human rights champions should admit their injustice done against the wills of the Kashmiri people for so long. Matter of fact is that despite the prevailing gruesome situation between Pakistan and India, constructive cooperation in CPEC and the Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC) can carry the seeds of immense potential to change their fortunes. Historic opportunities are on offer for both countries, as an economic transition is taking place from the west to the east. It is high time to rid the hysteric world of Pak-India hostility as Tri-Star economic chain of Pakistan, India, and China can surely stoke tangible prosperity to South Asia and beyond.

It is also a conspicuous misconception that the CPEC will undermine Balochistan’s prominence by the Chinese conglomerates’ self-interest. Balochistan covers an area of 347,190 square kilometres (134,050 sq mi). It is Pakistan’s largest province by area, constituting 44 percent of Pakistan’s total land mass with the lowest population compared to other provinces of Pakistan.

CPEC will bring more opportunities to local farmers and new avenues for cultivation will sprout because of availability of abundant land. With advanced agricultural and irrigational methods, much barren land in Balochistan will be used to enhance crops and this will augment Pakistan’s revenue that comes from the agriculture sector.

Pakistan is also going through a tentative phase with Afghanistan again because of Indian growing alliance with the former. Afghanistan should realise that fueling and supporting migrated terrorists including the Afghani Taliban against Pakistan with Indian camaraderie will only invite suffering to the Afghans the most and nothing else

Disparagers of CPEC are also directing fabricated concerns by the people of Balochistan. Matter of fact is that with the exception of a few miscreants, a vast majority of Balochi people are welcoming CPEC, as they are aware that the Gwadar port, industrial zones enroot under construction and road network will bolster economic prosperity to this land. International investors will pour in the huge sum in infrastructure and Balochistan will benefit the most. There are no incidences of any concerns from the Balochi people regarding immigrants and marginalising communities, etc, as maliciously propagated by critics. It is a common practice all over the world that economic ascendance promotes multiculturalism, by no means, rights and cultural identity of the minorities come at stake, instead, local communities — major and minor — enjoy the economic prosperity. As far as separatist movements are concerned, again, Indian supported and funded elements are trying to sabotage CPEC. Kulbhushan Jadhav case is a glaring testimony to the fact. However, Pakistan’s military with all the stakeholders have been able to uproot such developments in the last couple of years and therefore, peace and prosperity will sustain as its robust forces have the ability to defeat any internal and external evils.

Pakistan is also going through a tentative phase with Afghanistan again because of Indian growing alliance with the former. Afghanistan should realise that fueling and supporting migrated terrorists including the Afghani Taliban against Pakistan with Indian camaraderie will only invite suffering to the Afghans the most and nothing else. Pakistan has a resolute commitment to secure its borders and will not let any cross-border incursions from Afghanistan to occur now and after. Again, CPEC is offering a holistic opportunity to the Afghans to be part of ‘win-win’ cooperation as economic prosperity can equip the Afghans to rid themselves of the extremist elements once and for all. If Kabul is ready to cooperate with Islamabad on security concerns, transit routes of CPEC can change the face of Afghanistan economy.

In the region, CPEC could additionally serve as the driver for trade and economic integration between China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Afghanistan and the Central Asian States. In response to the planned criticism against CPEC, Pakistan’s policy practitioners, the government, military, civil society and the media must act to spread the message of peace and prosperity to the masses ensuing from the miraculous CPEC.

Yasir Masood

The writer works as a Literary Editor at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Islamabad. He is a geo-strategic analyst with expertise in political, diplomatic and security studies. He is a post-graduate in International Relations from Kingston University, London. He can be reached at [email protected]



2 Comments

  1. Dr Ahmad Rashid said:

    If Afghanistan wants to deliberately miss out the historic CPEC opportunity, it will be missed out forever. Pakistan could link up with Central Asia via the KKH and it is the real branch of the Silk Road in modern times through Xinjiang and this link is more vital and independent than Afghan’s potential interference and Indian meddlings. God always provides amazing opportunities to Pakistan. Pakistan would become an Asian Tiger and if Afghanistan did not grab the opportunity, it will remain in perpetual crises and under Indian manipulations for the rest of the century. Choice is Afghanistan’s own. Pakistan cannot change it. Opportunity knocks on its door from Torkham but it does not want to open the door and listen to New Delhi’s advice. They can go ahead as they like. Pakistan is changing its destiny with the CPEC through China, Central Asia, and Russia.

  2. Dr Ahmad Rashid said:

    Kabul is playing its double-standard policy on the CPEC for the past two years. It is not yet clear about the CPEC. Kabul wants to use CPEC as its political tool against Pakistan as it wrongly perceived that Pakistan can not link up with four Central Asian States without Afghanistan’s will. Geography is not made by Afghanistan. It is made by Almighty Allah. Pakistan can easily link up with Central Asia through Xinjiang. Gone were the days when camels, horses, and donkeys were taking goods on the Silk Road and they looked for the shortest route. Fast trains and trollers will link up Pakistan and China and will provides more opportunities if Pakistan goods go through China to Central Asia. The “CPEC Bypass” of Afghanistan is a great solution to all worries and challenges of connectivity. Believe me this is the final solution and I spoke on this many times in my seminars that I addressed in China.

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