CPEC: Awakening the Giant

Only a drop is needed to make barren fields fertile. One such corroboration is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that, despite all odds, is becoming a reality. Since its dawn, it was unnecessarily criticised for its nature and has been inculpated to have shady dealings. Yet, it has stood firm in its certitude.

Roll back to the days when Pakistan was not only unsafe for investments but also accused to be a safe haven for harvesting and fostering violent activities. From the economy to the social strata, all was desolated and no less than a barren piece of land that lacked any productive capacities. However, fast forward to April 2014, China kept its promises and proved that Pakistan-China friendship could weather all.

When no one was willing to even support Pakistan’s stance, China came up with the investment. Since then, these investments, commonly known by the umbrella term CPEC, are proving to be that much-needed drop, which is fertilising the obscured potential in Pakistan.

Today, no one can deny the fact that although Chinese would bag massive benefits from the CPEC, it still has a lot to provide Pakistan.

he CPEC is unveiling itself as a blessing in disguise. Just as the slow but persistent can lead to triumph, the gradual progress has brought a lot of eyes to Pakistan, which is fast becoming the pivot of attention in the region. Since the very beginning of the CPEC, it has procured a great deal of investment for Pakistan whether it be the Saudis or the comrades in Russia. Everyone seems intrigued by the thriving development on the lands of Pakistan.

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The world has always acknowledged the geo-strategic importance of Pakistan. However, with CPEC, it is being highlighted even more. The CPEC is comprehensive and substantive cooperation between China and Pakistan, which has the potential to unfold flairs of development in Pakistan.

The drop of CPEC aided the social and economic segment of Pakistan to bear fruits in the form of various projects. These fruits, upon their ripening, would bring holistic benefits for Pakistan. In other words, these perks would not be restricted to specific parts or provinces of Pakistan but the whole country, including each segment of society, would be benefited.

One key aspect of CPEC is its connectivity and integration. It is not only inter-connective but also intra-connective, which reflects it would connect provinces with each other as well as cities within these provinces with each other. From the gateway to the Arabian Sea, the road network climbs up to the peaks of Karakoram.

The CPEC not only covers a route of 2700 kilometres, its aura shadows all. Moreover, CPEC’s development in the western part of Pakistan, including Gwadar port, would create a favourable environment for doing business, which would ultimately attract the investors from across the globe to the much-deprived province, Balochistan.

From the railway network to road infrastructure, the CPEC covers all basic contours required to uplift the socio-economic fabric of Pakistan. The systematic development and organized. structure makes it a progressive project

Locations for the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are chosen in a certain fashion, which would benefit not only each province but also parts like Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. In these SEZs, industries would be established to further contribute to the economics of Pakistan.

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Pakistan has fought a decade-long skirmish with terrorism, which, most of the time, has forced Pakistan to direct its state potential to security, thus, neglecting other sectors of the society. Pakistan’s economy was getting ravaged by this fact. When Pakistan’s potential and productivity was wizened by the security concerns, China stood with Pakistan and supplied what was required. China trusted Pakistan when no one else was willing to even bat an eye on Pakistan.

For both countries, CPEC has a lot to give. China would get easy and secure access to the market for its products whereas the giant within Pakistan has just awakened. Nonetheless, it still needs true and upright conviction and intellect from the Pakistani side to fully manoeuvre CPEC in its favour and ascend from the ashes. Also, if Pakistan extracts maximum benefits out of CPEC, it would become a centre of global economic attention.

The writer is a research associate at the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR)

Source: Daily Times
Date: July 7, 2019
Author: Syed Nasir Hassan
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