CPEC
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Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal |

Operationalisation scope of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project has been entire Pakistan, therefore, the project would virtually connect all the major cities of Pakistan with Eurasia, Central Asia, and West Asia markets through roads and railways networks within a few years. This connectivity, certainly, ushers an era of prosperity for the people of Pakistan. In addition, it would improve Pakistan’s political, diplomatic and strategic significance in the global politics. Perhaps, the economic sovereignty entails credible sovereign defense of the country and sustainable prosperity of the nation.

Read more: CPEC: A game-changing project

The “New” beginning 

Many countries are interested in investing in the Pakistan. Consequently, Pakistan is emerging as an economic pivot for South Asian, West Asian, Central Asian and Eurasian states.

The commencement of CPEC project in 2015 and Chinese leadership announcement that CPEC is a flagship project of their ‘One-Belt, One Road’ initiative have a gigantic effect on Pakistan’s development. Today, many countries are interested in investing in the Pakistan. Consequently, Pakistan is emerging as an economic pivot for South Asian, West Asian, Central Asian and Eurasian states. Precisely, CPEC is generating optimism for economic self-reliance of the country.

By encouraging local industry development and establishing functional/practical Economic Zones, the government is able to establish a “unified development framework”

The important areas which require the government’s immediate attention are education, training and skill development of the youth; improvement in existing laws and regulations for facilitating trade and investment and infrastructure development. The government constructive initiatives in the said areas definitely facilitate local industry’s sustainable growth. By encouraging local industry development and establishing functional/practical Economic Zones, the government is able to establish a “unified development framework” i.e. industrial and urban development jointly transform “the trade corridors into economic corridors”.

Read more: CPEC: a corridor of prosperity or uncertainty?

A plan to derail CPEC and Pakistan

It not only quashes the blackmailing of lone military equipment supplier nation but also finishes the probability of sanctions during the crisis. Indeed, the CPEC contribute constructively in solidifying Pakistan’s defensive fence against its archrival India.

Pakistan’s economic and military self-reliance certainly overwhelm its dependency on the United States economic and military aid. The economic autonomy creates options to purchase sophisticated military hardware from various vendors. It not only quashes the blackmailing of lone military equipment supplier nation but also finishes the probability of sanctions during the crisis. Indeed, the CPEC contribute constructively in solidifying Pakistan’s defensive fence against its archrival India. The economic prosperity of the state would save Islamabad from Great Powers dictations. That’s why; India and its allies have been hatching conspiracies to derail CPEC.

The enemies of Pakistan always endeavor to thwarts country’s economic prosperity and political significance in the regional and global politics. Therefore, they have been propagating and spreading rumors against CPEC.

The geographical location of Pakistan makes it significant in the strategic calculations of the Great Powers. The positive trajectory in geostrategic, geoeconomic and geopolitical spheres is alarming for anti-Pakistan forces. The enemies of Pakistan always endeavor to thwarts country’s economic prosperity and political significance in the regional and global politics. Therefore, they have been propagating and spreading rumors against CPEC. They desire to create mistrust about the CPEC among the people of Pakistan.

Many analysts have expressed their reservations about the lack of clarity and CPEC projects transparency.

Read more: Naval sailors attacked in Baluchistan: another attempt to slow down CPEC?

No disclosure: a surprise worth the wait?

This controversy can only be settled by calling an “open debate on all aspects of CPEC.” The best solution is that government draft a public document which contains all the details regarding the financing, the Special Economic Zones and the concessions being given to Chinese enterprises.

Ignoring their criticism isn’t right approach. Either government has not disclosed many crucial details about the CPEC related projects or the concern departments broadcasting strategy needs immediate revamping. This controversy can only be settled by calling an “open debate on all aspects of CPEC.” The best solution is that government draft a public document which contains all the details regarding the financing, the Special Economic Zones and the concessions being given to Chinese enterprises. It not only shuns the fraudulent propaganda against the CPEC but also encourages the local investors to invest in the special economic zones.

The parliamentarians have failed to initiate a constructive debate on the project in the parliament. Similarly, the political parties are not acting as stakeholders of the projects, especially the opposition parties.

Importantly, the role of elected representatives is fundamental in making people stakeholder of any national project. Therefore, the elected members of Parliament and Provincial Assemblies, and political parties workers could enunciate the dividends of CPEC more effectively. Unfortunately, the parliamentarians have failed to initiate a constructive debate on the project in the parliament. Similarly, the political parties are not acting as stakeholders of the projects, especially the opposition parties. The political leadership ownership and proactive role is imperative for ending negative propaganda against CPEC. Hence, the political leadership must act apolitically and adopt an objective strategy for operationalising the CPEC.

Read more: CPEC will not stir up Indo-Pak Trouble, says China

Conclusion

The CPEC adversaries are simply opposed to the flourishing self-reliant Pakistan. Hence, the political leadership and Pakistani civil society act proactively in thwarting negative propaganda against CPEC, which is germinating hope for country’s sustainable economic prosperity in the twenty-first century.

To conclude, the CPEC project is imperative for the economic prosperity of Pakistan. It has not only started steady economic growth in the entire country but also enhances Islamabad’s political and diplomatic leverage in the regional and global politics. Indeed, the objective criticism and open debate for the sake of clarity is benign for the project and informative for investors. Conversely, baseless concerns and debate in the media on the project simply germinate suspicion among the investors and people of Pakistan. The CPEC adversaries are simply opposed to the flourishing self-reliant Pakistan. Hence, the political leadership and Pakistani civil society act proactively in thwarting negative propaganda against CPEC, which is germinating hope for country’s sustainable economic prosperity in the twenty-first century.

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He is also an advisor on Non-Proliferation to SASSI, London and a course coordinator at Foreign Services Academy for the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Email: jaspal_99@hotmail.com. This piece was first published in Pakistan Observer. It has been reprinted with permission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal is Director & Associate Professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan, where he teaches various aspects of Strategic Studies; International Security; Nuclear/Missile Proliferation; Terrorism including CBNR Terrorism and Countermeasures; Arms Control/Disarmament; Domestic and Foreign Policies of the country. He is an advisor on Non-Proliferation to SASSI, Islamabad/London and a Course Coordinator at Foreign Services Academy Ministry of Foreign Affairs Islamabad. Prior to joining the University, he had been a Research Fellow at ISSI, IPRI, Islamabad, Pakistan. Dr. Zafar, as a Guest Speaker/Visiting Lecturer, had delivered and still continues to deliver lectures at NATO School, Oberammergau, Germany; Center of Excellence: Defence against Terrorism, Ankara, Turkey; National Security & War Courses of Pakistan’s National Defence University; Intelligence Bureau Academy, Command and Staff College Quetta; Air War College, Karachi, and Foreign Service Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan. He holds Ph.D. and M. Phil in International Relations and M.A. in Political Science. He did advance Post Graduate Certificate courses in Peace and Conflict Studies, from European Peace University Stadtschlaining, Austria; Peace Research, International Relations and Foreign Policy Analysis from Oslo University, Norway. He also did CMC Training Course/ Cooperative Monitoring from Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States.

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