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Friday, February 16, 2024

People of Pakistan are beneficiary of CPEC and custodian too

Gwadar port, a focal point of CPEC, is undergoing transformative development, aiming to become a major economic hub and a key port in the region. With 4 projects completed, 6 under construction, and 4 in the pipeline, Gwadar is on the cusp of changing Pakistan's fate.

In 2013, Pakistan faced a daunting economic crisis marked by shortage of foreign exchange, Trade deficit, lack of foreign investment, and severe electricity shortages, extended hours of load shedding, and global political pressures, compounded by the persistent menace of terrorism. The international community watched with concern as the country grappled with these challenges. However, amid adversity, a transformative initiative was launched that would alter Pakistan’s trajectory and usher in a new era of prosperity.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, a leader of unparalleled stature, who, in his dual roles as the Secretary General of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, unveiled the ambitious “One Belt and One Road” Initiative in 2013. Swiftly embraced by Pakistan due to its deep-rooted friendship with China, this initiative, later known as the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), brought forth six planned corridors, among them the game-changing “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” (CPEC).

Read more: Chinese Vice Premier Commemorates 10-Year CPEC Anniversary in Pakistan

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) stands as a monumental bilateral project, a beacon of collaboration and progress between China and Pakistan. Unprecedented in scale, CPEC has delivered remarkable dividends, including the creation of over 200,000 jobs, the addition of 8,000 MW of power to the national grid, the construction of 510 kilometers of highways, a 932-kilometer road network, and the laying of an 820-kilometer-long optical fiber line.

Under Phase II of CPEC, the collaboration between the two nations has expanded into new realms, encompassing rural revitalization, agricultural development, industrialization, green development, and advancements in science and technology.

One of the most significant contributions of CPEC has been in addressing Pakistan’s chronic power shortages through various energy projects. Completed projects in coal, solar, and wind energy have significantly bolstered the country’s energy infrastructure. With 14 projects already completed, 2 under construction, and 5 under consideration, Pakistan is on the verge of achieving self-sufficiency in electricity—an extraordinary shift from the dark days of load shedding in 2013.

Beyond energy, CPEC has laid the foundation for robust infrastructure development, including highways, railways, and the strategic Gwadar port. With 6 projects completed, 5 under construction, and 8 in the pipeline, these developments have dramatically improved connectivity and transportation of goods, transforming the economic landscape.

Read more: Why is CPEC stalling?

Special Economic Zones (SEZs) established under CPEC are poised to attract foreign investment and catalyze industrialization. As 4 projects are under construction and 5 in the pipeline, these zones are expected to become hubs of economic activity, creating jobs, enhancing manufacturing capabilities, and positioning Pakistan as an attractive destination for Chinese industries seeking abundant local raw materials and cost-effective labor.

CPEC’s impact on trade and economic ties between China and Pakistan is undeniable. It has strengthened bilateral trade, with Pakistani exports to China gaining momentum. The removal of barriers and facilitation by the Chinese government has expanded the range of products, including Red Chili, Beef, and Fruits, contributing to a positive trade trajectory.

Gwadar port, a focal point of CPEC, is undergoing transformative development, aiming to become a major economic hub and a key port in the region. With 4 projects completed, 6 under construction, and 4 in the pipeline, Gwadar is on the cusp of changing Pakistan’s fate. The addition of a state-of-the-art international airport and enhanced connectivity through motorways and railways further solidify its significance.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of CPEC is its impact on previously marginalized regions, such as Gilgit-Baltistan and Baluchistan. Once underdeveloped, these areas have witnessed a surge in development projects, bringing them at par with the rest of Pakistan. CPEC has not only been an economic lifeline but a unifying force, connecting people from all corners of the country and fostering national unity.

As Pakistan marches forward on the path of industrialization and economic growth, the nation remains grateful to its Chinese counterparts for turning dreams into reality. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor stands tall as a comprehensive package of economic development and prosperity, showcasing the power of collaboration and friendship between nations. Pakistan is one of the most resilient and hardworking nation, and committed to over-come all hurdles and challenges, and complete the CPEC in its true spirit and achieve all the aims and objectives.

 

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist, Diplomat, Editor, Analyst, and Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).