Tashkurgan Khunjerab Airport is an airport in Xinjiang province, China. It opened on December 23, 2022. At an elevation of 3,200 m, it is Xinjiang’s first high plateau airport. Construction started on 26 April 2020 with an estimated investment of US$251 million. The airport has been designed to handle 400 tons and 160,000 passengers annually. Test flights were started at the airport in May 2022. The airport is seen to be part of a larger effort to develop the region commercially and to support the land route, a part of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, and the larger Belt and Road Initiative.
It is also seen as a larger part of China’s border infrastructure improvement and its 14th Five-Year Plan. It is just next to Hunza in Gilgit-Biltistan, Pakistan, only a 100 + Kilometers or an hour’s drive. Now with Pak & China signing “Visa on arrival at Khunjerab Pass”, imagine international tourists entering Hunza from this international airport besides trade facilitation at Sost dry port in Hunza under CPEC. This airport is also being linked to Skardu International Airport and taking all connections from Skardu too. Such International airports in addition to already launched Dasu&Bhasha Dams, 4-G mobile connectivity, multiple access roads, Russian connection, etc. ensure the achieving potential of Gilgit-Baltistan & Pakistan which can easily take off our economy ahead leaps and bounds in a few years.
China and Pakistan enjoy a longstanding friendship, rooted in mutual respect and cooperation. Over the years, China has played a pivotal role in supporting Pakistan’s economic development through various assistance programs, policy measures, infrastructure projects, investments, and trade facilitation initiatives. This positive collaboration has contributed significantly to Pakistan’s economic growth and holds great potential for the future. In this article, we will explore the positive impact of Chinese assistance and outline key measures that can further boost Pakistan’s economy.
China can assist Pakistan in implementing effective policy measures to foster economic growth. This includes promoting stability in the business environment, ensuring transparent and fair regulations, and offering incentives to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). China’s expertise in economic planning and policy formulation can be leveraged to enhance Pakistan’s economic governance and regulatory frameworks.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has already resulted in significant infrastructure development in Pakistan. This collaboration can be further expanded to include the construction of transportation networks, energy infrastructure, industrial parks, and special economic zones. These projects will not only create employment opportunities but also improve connectivity, boost trade, and attract more foreign investment.
Concessions and Investments
Chinese investments in Pakistan have played a crucial role in various sectors such as energy, telecommunications, manufacturing, and agriculture. Expanding these investments and providing favorable concessions can further strengthen Pakistan’s economy. China can consider providing preferential loans, tax incentives, and technological support to attract more investment in sectors that have high growth potential, such as renewable energy, information technology, and tourism.
China has been a significant trading partner for Pakistan, and efforts can be made to enhance bilateral trade further. Both countries can explore avenues for reducing trade barriers, simplifying customs procedures, and establishing preferential trade agreements. Encouraging business delegations and trade expos between the two nations will facilitate greater interaction and open up new opportunities for collaboration.
Skill Development and Human Resource Exchange
China’s expertise in skill development can greatly benefit Pakistan’s workforce. Both countries can establish vocational training centers and exchange programs to enhance technical skills in areas such as manufacturing, construction, and agriculture. This exchange of knowledge and expertise will not only strengthen Pakistan’s human resource base but also promote cultural understanding and people-to-people connections.
China’s support and assistance have been instrumental in Pakistan’s economic growth, and the potential for further collaboration is vast. By implementing effective policy measures, engaging in infrastructure projects, providing concessions and investments, and facilitating trade, China can continue to contribute to Pakistan’s economic development. This positive collaboration between the two nations will not only boost economic indicators but also foster a stronger and more prosperous Pakistan. With continued optimism and dedication, the future holds immense potential for the growth of Pakistan’s economy with China’s support.
It is expected that only a five-year time is required to revive Pakistan’s economy. It will not only regain its lost ranking in the international community but may take off to new heights. Only one pre-condition is a smooth five years’ time, where the nation may focus only on the economic front and leave domestic politics aside. Institutions need to be strengthened, and Constitution must prevail above all, law must be forced blindly on an equal basis to each individual. Merit must prevail in all appointments, irrespective of personal affiliations or liking or disliking. The potential is there, China is genuinely extending support, and we must not miss this opportunity at all.
Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, and Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.