CPEC must be supported | Pakistan Today

CPEC must be supported

  • Differences should be ironed out through discussion

At a time when Pakistan is facing an unprecedented financial crunch and FDI has shrunk to the minimum, China has committed  $60b,  the largest ever foreign funding in Pakistan in crucial power, road-cum-rail connectivity sectors and development of industrial zones.  Meanwhile the US and a number of countries under its influence  have opened a campaign against the BRI and its flagship, the  CPEC.  The US fears the growing Chinese footprint  in the region. Instead of competing with China by investing in Pakistan, Washington  is pressurising Islamabad to reduce the level of its  economic relations with China.  While striving to improve relations with the US, Pakistan must not accept any demand against its national interest.

On Saturday at a joint press conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi,  Shah Mahmud Qureshi assured that the  China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will remain the top priority of the PTI  government. He also said the Corridor is  aimed at initiating a modern era of trade and economic growth.

Wang Yi was at pains to expose the western propaganda against CPEC. He   clarified  that once the projects included in it get operationalised,  the economic benefits accruing from them would generate enough funds enabling  Pakistan,  among other things, to  pay off its  debt.  According to Wang  Yi, the projects had already helped add one to two percent in Pakistan’s economic growth besides creating 70,000 new jobs. The Chinese Foreign Minister  agreed to  encourage imports from Pakistan  to strive for a greater balance in the two-way trade.

On Sunday a number of suggestions from Pakistan  were incorporated in the CPEC plan indicating willingness on the part of the Chinese government to accommodate Pakistan’s  preferences.  Gwadar will be ‘re-prioritised’ as a hub of heavy industry. China  will consider to realign the goals of CPEC by introducing new targets of socioeconomic and regional development in the plan.

Differences might still persist but there  is a need to resolve them in a friendly spirit over time.  The PTI leadership has to ensure that none of its functionaries becomes wittingly  or unwittingly a part of the US anti-CPEC campaign.  The urge to expose the PML-N’s policies should not lead to stands that harm Pakistan.