CPEC port
CPEC port
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Projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC) are moving ahead of time and are expected to be completed before time. Sun Weidong, China’s Ambassador to Pakistan explained, at a Forum, organized by a leading publication house, in a local hotel, on Monday. He told his audience that the CPEC had so far generated 13000 local jobs in Pakistan.

Projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC) are moving ahead of time and are expected to be completed before time. Sun Weidong, China’s Ambassador to Pakistan explained, at a Forum, organized by a leading publication house,

Developments are being made on a daily basis and both governments are confident in completing the project well on time. Ambassador told the forum. He added that both the governments have also prioritized the development schemes for the CPEC labeling them under ‘actively promoted projects’. His informed arguments thus added weight to the claims of possible success of “Early Harvest” by the Pakistani government.

Read more: Are Indian fears about CPEC related to Kashmir issue?

Audience learnt that the changes brought to the priority list include upgrade of the Hubco coal-fired power plant and Oracle power project. However, it was learnt that the Rahim Yar Khan projected has been downgraded by a few notches.

Iran’s deep interest in CPEC was recently obvious by the presence of both the Iranian foreign minister, Jawad Zarif, and Iran’s president, Hasan Rouhani, the ECO summit in Islamabad. CPEC thus definitely holds the magic of regional connectivity

On a question concerning the connection of Iran’s Chabahar port to the Gwadar port in Pakistan, the Chinese ambassador asserted that other countries, in the region, could also benefit by the completion of the CPEC. Ports and Shipping Minister Hasil Bizenjo, who was also present at the forum, then added in his address that Pakistan had already proposed a 85 km road which would connect the two ports to one another.

It may be important to mention that Iran’s deep interest in CPEC was recently obvious by the presence of both the Iranian foreign minister, Jawad Zarif, and Iran’s president, Hasan Rouhani, the ECO summit in Islamabad.

Asad Umar, lawmaker to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) however disagreed with this over optimistic scenario being painted by Chinese and Pakistani governments and highlighted the inherent risks that CPEC entails

CPEC thus definitely holds the magic of regional connectivity. It is now unto Pakistani ruling elite and its institutions as to how they let Pakistani public, state and society capitalize on the potential inherit in CPEC. At the same time its becoming obvious that Indian leadership is extremely agitated at the prospects of CPEC and see Pakistan benefitting from CPEC as a strategic threat to Indian interests. Afghanistan’s bellicosity and its recent reaction to ECO underlines Indian influence and motivations – because otherwise Afghanistan is a natural beneficiary of CPEC’s success.

 

Read more: Pakistan’s expected debt to be $110 billion by 2020

“Chabahar port cannot survive without Gwadar and both ports can complement each other,” said Bizenjo. The minister further emphasized on the need of an efficient railway system. 

“Without a rail connection, CPEC is incomplete”.

According to the ambassador, the power projects will be completed in 2017 and 2018 subsequently and the industrialization will begin soon as well.

Read more: Official Website for CPEC Launched!

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal was also present at the forum. The minister outlined that the two most essential projects to be considered are the New Gwadar International Airport and Eastbay Expressway without which, Gwadar will be unable to function properly. Both of these projects are part of the priority list but the construction has not been initiated as yet.

Asad Umar, lawmaker to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) however disagreed with this over optimistic scenario being painted by Chinese and Pakistani governments and highlighted the inherent risks that CPEC entails. He drew audience’s attention to the possible financial deals that will be brought forward, if public and media are not vigilant. He also pointed out that the county’s loan liability has significantly increased and the loans for CPEC in particular are more than any of the other international loans. Transparency in CPEC deals is thus most important: Asad Umar emphasized.

 

Read more: CPEC: Conspiracy Theories of Success & Failure

“The signs of chronic external imbalances have already started appearing,” said Umar.

Asad Umar further stated that the involvement of Pakistani labor and businessmen in CPEC has been minimal and a competitive fear has eventually spread in the business industry. On the other hand, the planning minster termed this issue as “another conspiracy against the CPEC”

The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Khalid Iqbal also expressed his opinion over the biases inherent in CPEC towards the Chinese businesses. This line of argument and concern is off lately increasing. It may be the time to increase transparency of the CPEC projects to bring greater trust. However government seems to be oblivious to this aspect and is purposefully downplaying these issues.

 

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