A small step to­wards China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

AT

a time when the coun­try was in the grip of un­end­ing po­lit­i­cal ten­sion, Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif has done well by launch­ing a de­vel­op­men­tal project of mon­u­men­tal im­por­tance. Ground-break­ing of Hazara Mo­tor­way project is not only in line with the pas­sion and vi­sion of the Prime Min­is­ter for in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment in the coun­try but it is also one of the com­po­nents of the gi­gan­tic project of China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor Project, which is rightly be­ing de­scribed as a game changer in the re­gion.

The 60-kilo­me­tre-long, 4-lane fenced ex­press­way will cost Rs33 bil­lion and will re­duce the drive time from Is­lam­abad to Havelian to just 30 min­utes, ad­di­tion­ally pro­vid­ing a road to the Havelian Dry Port project. The project an­tic­i­pates hun­dreds of thou­sands of em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, pos­si­bil­i­ties of new business ideas, and a so­cio-eco­nomic up­lift of the whole re­gion. The road would help solve the traf­fic prob­lems in Ab­bot­tabad, Haripur and Mansehra dis­tricts. No doubt, this is a small step to­wards im­ple­men­ta­tion of the huge project of Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor but it is quite en­cour­ag­ing that de­spite chal­lenges and dif­fi­cul­ties, the Gov­ern­ment is mov­ing for­ward and at least a be­gin­ning has been made to re­al­ize a big­ger goal. No doubt, the en­tire project in­volves in­vest­ment worth bil­lions of dol­lars and time, en­ergy and hard work but as­so­ci­a­tion of China is it­self a guar­an­tee of its suc­cess pro­vided we demon­strate our re­solve and com­mit­ment to trans­form it into a re­al­ity. Un­for­tu­nately, some short-sighted lead­ers and el­e­ments are try­ing to sab­o­tage and be­lit­tle the project de­spite its enor­mous po­ten­tial for progress and de­vel­op­ment es­pe­cially in the back­ward re­gions of Pak­istan. Po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences apart, there should be a na­tional con­sen­sus on the eco­nomic di­rec­tion of the coun­try and the poli­cies and plans ini­ti­ated by one gov­ern­ment should in­vari­ably be pur­sued by its suc­ces­sors. We would also ex­pect of Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif and his team to move on a faster pace on dif­fer­ent com­po­nents of the Cor­ri­dor dur­ing re­main­ing three years of their rule so that the project be­comes ir­re­versible.

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