Successful manoeuvring | Pakistan Today

Successful manoeuvring

  • Five years of CPEC

Around the year 2013 there was immense hue and cry about a mega project which would place the Pak-China relationship on an even higher pedestal. Apart from this, the project was being viewed as a game-changer for international and regional realm in terms of geo-economics, trade and development. This project was China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which happens to be the linchpin project of the OBOR (One Belt One Road) initiative. The masterminds behind this project are the Chinese who have sought to re-balance the international structure in terms of economics.

CPEC comprised many small and large developmental, infrastructure and communication projects. It happens to be a cornerstone in not just connecting Pakistan with China in a deeper sense of geo-economics but also a core and insightful aspect which is going to connect regions with each other. Thus, the Silk Road Initiative is something which effortlessly connects most parts of Asia with Africa, etc, because of CPEC. Pakistan sits at the hub of coming prosperity in such a way that with it not just South Asia is to get a massive benefit but Central Asia, Gulf, West Asia and parts of African region will get bound together in complex interdependence via geo-economics.

The fine print of CPEC for Pakistan carried weightage because it involved all the provinces and particularly focused on the infrastructural development of those provinces which have been economically in turmoil; Sindh and Balochistan being two such cases. But nevertheless it has geared up KP, Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan with equally important developmental plans.

Some of the most anticipated projects for Pakistan in terms of CPEC have been: Keti Bunder Sea Port Development Project, Naukundi-Mashakhel-Punjgaur Road Project, Quetta Water Supply Scheme from Pat feeder Canal, Iron Ore Mining Project, Chitral CPCE Link Road from Gilgit, Shandoor, Chitral to Chakdara. While these are just some of the core projects, Gwadar is perhaps the heart of CPEC. Under CPEC the development of Gwadar happens to be a very extensive project in which there are around 12 big and small projects which aim at infrastructure, communication links and those which enhance its strategic importance as well.

Furthermore, energy development is one of the biggest aspects of CPEC which contains in total 21 energy related projects. These then include not just hydel power projects but coal-fired power projects as well as wind based mills and hydro-power projects spread out to the entire Pakistan. Then, CPEC also undertook five or perhaps more transport projects of which Orange Line in Lahore was a chief conduit.

After five years many CPEC projects have attained triumph. It aims towards further development of the western provinces of China and in the augmentation of connectivity of Chinese provinces like Xinjiang with the rest of the country, by attracting foreign and local investment. Now after all these years there have been successes worth mentioning; because of CPEC there is now access to around 40,000 households to drinkable and usable water in Gwadar, the construction of Motorway aka M5 which connects Multan-Sukkur, creation of around 75,000 jobs within both Pakistan and China, transit routes for railways within Pakistan, opening up of a bus from Pakistan to China, Lahore Orange Line project, etc.

Apart from these infrastructural and developmental ones, CPEC has, according to some professionals, helped Pakistan get a trade balance between China and Pakistan. Another important feature is that it has attracted a lot of foreign states towards itself who have shown interest in being a part of CPEC and OBOR as a whole

Apart from these infrastructural and developmental ones, CPEC has, according to some professionals, helped Pakistan get a trade balance between China and Pakistan. Another important feature is that it has attracted a lot of foreign states towards itself who have shown interest in being a part of CPEC and OBOR as a whole. All in all, CPEC was aimed as an outlet for the prosperity of Pakistan in a broader way. Through CPEC the two states have inched closer. Without a doubt, CPEC has met with its own set of challenges but during the past five years, both sides have easily maneuvered around these challenges and proved that CPEC is here to last.

Sabah Aslam

Sabah Aslam is Executive Director of Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR), and member visiting faculty Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, NUML, and School of Politics and IR, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad.



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