Will CPEC Fulfill the Promises it Made?
Almost all the Pakistanis consider Pakistan as full of potential with endless natural resources and strategic importance. Pakistan’s citizens blame the corrupt and malicious politicians and governments for not using their available potential, resources, and strategic importance.
After almost seven decades since the inception of our country and a decade full of terrorism, no cricket, inflation, and economic instability, CPEC has brought a new era of hope and a bright future in every Pakistani’s life. CPEC and Gwadar have become a hot topic among everyone, and most of the information regarding this subject is not based on hard-line facts instead. They are based on assumptions, predictions, and rumours.
Importance of Gwadar:
Fortunately, Almighty gifted Pakistan with a pearl named Gwadar. This city has a natural deep-sea port that has the ability to become the world’s largest deep seaport in the coming future. Gwadar city has a long and rich history dating back to the civilizations of the Bronze Age, and its Hellenic name was Gedrosia.
However, Gwadar’s destiny to become the biggest deep-sea port and an international city came true just a few years back, when the harbour’s operations were handed over to China Overseas Port Holding Company 2013. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of the six Economic Corridors of China’s global economic plan called OBOR (One Belt, One Road) and Maritime Silk Road project.
From this project’s scale, one can easily assume that CPEC will only benefit Pakistan and China. It will also be beneficial for the South Asian region, Central Asia, Russia, the Arab peninsula and Europe. Pakistan will become an integral part of CPEC as it will become a bridge, which will link 64 countries around the globe (SEE MAP BELOW: Source HERALD).
Current Scenario of CPEC:
If we look at the examples of current economic and trade corridors throughout the world, they are bound to bring prosperity and growth to their surrounding regions. The business corridor among Canada, the USA, and Mexico is known as ‘Corridor 1′ is proved to be beneficial for all the participating countries. It has increased the cross-border trade and brought revenue to Canada, the USA, and Mexico, which were on a decline otherwise.
Similarly, the Southern Economic Corridor between Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand have enhanced trade among these countries and improved their economies. CPEC is about Pakistan becoming a corridor for China to connect its Xingjian province with the Arabian sea. It includes projects that will improve the energy sector, industries, education, infrastructure, railway, trade, tourism, and healthcare.
One of the many obstacles currently faced by CPEC is an equal distribution of its projects among Pakistan’s provinces to benefit from it. Many politicians, journalists, and experts have been raising their concerns regarding this matter.
The Ex-Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mr Parvaiz Khattak, has been very critical and vocal about the proposed western route of CPEC. Mr Khattak has demanded the federal government speed up the process and urged that the western route be made part of CPEC, with all the eastern route facilities.
Similarly, the ex-president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Masood Khan, has also argued that AJK should also be included in the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan project. He expressed that AJK is a natural part of the corridor. People of Balochistan are also concerned. They do not want to be neglected as they have been in the past.
What Can Be Done to Overcome the Issues?
Will CPEC Fulfill the Promises it Made? It is a question for which transparency in the funds’ utilisation and investment is a big challenge for the government. The Prime Minister’s political party will claim all the credit for the developments and outcomes of CPEC. However, public opinion is still hostile on this matter. Still, most people consider the Army responsible for all the goods that are being done right now regarding CPEC.
General Rahil Sharif was undoubtedly the most famous chief of Army Staff in the history of Pakistan. He gained a lot of respect for restoring peace and harmony in the country. Another reason for his popularity is a smooth transition of CPEC projects and ensuring that the job is done without inconvenience. Due to corrupt history, the vote of confidence is fragile, for the Nawaz League and Panama leaks conspiracy has made matters worse.
CPEC was an opportunity for Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his party to put their best efforts into this project so that the public opinion regarding them could become confident and prosper for the years to follow. Their government should have put more effort into sharing the details of ongoing projects and have kept the whole process as transparent as possible.
So, Will CPEC Fulfill the Promises it Made? According to the plan, CPEC has been divided into three phases. The first phase was expected to be completed by 2018, whereas the second and third phases were expected to be completed by 2020 and 2030. It is not wrong to say that the benefits of CPEC will start to show as soon as the first phase is finalized. However, a more detailed timeline for every phase should be introduced to improve productivity and outcome.
India’s displeasure and jealousy regarding CPEC need no introduction. Despite its continuous efforts to sabotage peace in the region, disintegrate Pakistan internally and oppose it on an international level, it has failed desperately. In the process, India has made Pakistan more alert and committed to CPEC. Iran was hesitant initially but has shifted sides after realizing the possible benefits of joining the party. Russia’s inclination towards CPEC has further strengthened the prospects of CPEC to become a reality and not only a farfetched dream.
Written by Maria Ahmed
Edited & Managed by Javeria Qadeer