Almost 50 years ago Pakistan played a pivotal role to normalize US-China relations. Once again, through the upcoming OIC summit, Pakistan will play a historic role in taking China-OIC relations to the next level. This will usher in a new era of economic growth, conflict resolution and political stability for the entire region marred by foreign-funded wars which have killed millions of people and ravaged the entire nation economically and socially.
Pakistan, straddling at the meeting point between two of the greatest civilizations in humanity i.e. Islam and China, is poised to play a historic and monumental role between them which can change the course of next century geopolitics and geoeconomics. It will also make China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the center of gravity for Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects envisaged by China in the Muslim world.
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Pakistan is a natural bridge between China and the Muslim world for various reasons. Firstly, from a geographic perspective, Pakistan is the starting point of an uninterrupted Muslim land mass that stretches up to Morocco and includes the geostrategic regions of Central Asia, Near East, Middle East, North and Central Africa.
Although China itself has a huge land border with Central Asian Muslim countries, Pakistan’s deep strategic relationship with China positions it in a pivotal role to be the conduit between two great civilizations.
Secondly, from a geoeconomic perspective, CPEC is the largest leg of China’s global BRI project. It directly connects Western China to the rest of the Eurasian and African landmass. As a result, CPEC will gain significantly more importance in the coming days as it stands between China and the rest of the BRI projects in the region.
CPEC has the unique advantage of road, train and sea connectivity with China which other nations do not enjoy due to various reasons. Once completed, Pakistan’s long-cherished dream of connecting Central Asian states to the warm waters of the Arabian sea will come to fruition as well.
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Much to the agony of India, it will not only strengthen Pakistan economically, it will also project Pakistan’s cultural influence in regional countries where India has long cultivated an anti-Pakistan narrative.
As tourism increases in the post-Covid world and business flourishes due to regional connectivity, Pakistan will be able to effectively communicate its viewpoint on many critical issues like Kashmir and Afghanistan across the region through public opinion building and diplomatic channels.
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Sustainable peace is only possible through sustainable development and vice versa. The region starting from Pakistan to Morocco, by design or default, has seen dozens of wars during the last 30 years since the fall of communism. The situation before that wasn’t rosy either. Many of these countries have been caught in great power rivalries of superpowers, oil politics and other sinister anti-Islamic agendas.
For the first time, a new superpower is entering the game with the intention to create logistics networks and economic zones across the Muslim world. In order to secure its trillions of dollars worth of investment, it will definitely put all possible efforts to bring peace and political stability in the region. This in turn creates a win-win situation for everyone.
Pakistan’s Moment of Glory?
The OIC summit and China’s interest in establishing deep contacts with the Muslim world create a historic opportunity for Pakistan to create a moment of glory for it through overcoming domestic political issues and internal capacity building for economic planning and project management.
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Pakistan, which is currently under 22nd IMF program has long suffered economically due to political instability, lack of strategic economic planning and global arm-twisting e.g. FATF. This is once in a generation opportunity for Pakistan to put its house in order and fully capitalize upon the opportunities presented by the OIC-China strategic partnership in which Pakistan can be the center of gravity.
Noaman Abdul Majid is an Economist, Geopolitical Analyst and Social Development Expert. He is the CEO of WIXEMAN GLOBAL, a strategy consulting firm practicing in GCC and Pakistan. He has worked with and advised development finance institutions, public sector entities, high net-worth family offices and non-governmental organizations in many countries on foreign investment, international joint ventures, economic and social development-related projects. He is a Fellow Chartered Management Accountant from UK, Fellow Chartered Accountant from Pakistan, a Chartered Islamic Finance Professional from Malaysia and Masters in Economics from Karachi University. He tweets at @NoamanAmajid).
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.