Challenges to China Pakistan Economic Corridor
Pakistan and china always enjoyed close and supportive relationship and have regularly exchanged highlevel visits and multiple agreements. Both states consider each other the strategic ally. China always provided Pakistan with economic, military and technical assistance. Chinese economic cooperation with Pakistan has reached at high points, with extensive Chinese investment in Pakistani infrastructural growth. As china is emerging with the image of new soft super power, Pakistan’s geostrategic location has become more important to china in order to access the new trade routes between Central Asia, South Asia and Middle East. The building of the Pakistan China Economic Corridor is a part of same series. The idea to establish an economic corridor appeared in the 2000s. But it gained more importance under the leadership of Xi Jinping. Since then it became the central theme of discussion on administrative level on both sides. In May 2013, during Premier Li Keqiang visit to Pakistan, The two sides signed contracts on the proposal for Pakistan China Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is an advanced megaproject. The leading point of Chinese president Xi Jinping recent visit to Pakistan also has been the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The CPEC is quoted as an important part in understanding the potential of regional connectivity and trade by connecting Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan to the northwestern of China’s self-governing region of Xinjiang, by the network of highways, railways and pipelines. In this way Pakistan will be able to connect china with the markets in Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. The cost which is assessed on the whole construction is $46 billion, and the in so many years. The CPEC is a vast network it will goose the growth of industrial zones supported by power plants, joining Kashgar in China to Gwadar in Pakistan. The CPEC project is in progress, however it is of huge importance and for china but also for Pakistan. It will change the geo-strategic position of Pakistan. But the project is facing a variety of challenges that strive to erode challenges can be divided into political, have further internal or the external dimensions. and insecurity. Political instability in a country is a major obstacle in the way of development of projects. Pakistan also has a similar situation, since its independence Pakistan is facing Political instability which always remain a major cause to weakening the state. CPEC is also not devoid of it. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan was cancelled In September 2014 because of the protests in Islamabad run by Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). Although when the problem was resolved the PTI itself played a grateful role in calling for national support for the CPEC. All sides should refrain from taking the actions that could become the cause of damaging of nation building initiative. Recently some sub-nationalist parties are propagating that a change in the routes by the government, that would merely support the eastern provinces and divest the western provinces of Pakistan. Despite this the claim has no facts on the ground. Pakistani and Chinese governments have tried to address concerns by communicating with political parties that are making the accusations. There are also some political challenges on international level. On international CPEC is a cause of alarm especially to the U.S. and India, who consider it China’s strategy aiming to encircle India. India tries to stop the construction of the CPEC by diplomatic approach. Indian prime minister during his visit to china raised the issue that CPEC through Pakistanoccupied Kashmir is unacceptable. On 15th June 2015 Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain criticized India and accused it for a “shameless propaganda” against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The second major
external political challenge is posed by United States. US considered the threat to its super power status. USA is also anxious because of Chinese strategic access to the Arabian Sea and its existence in the region. Along with this construction of China’s navy and its activities in the Indian Ocean raise the USA concerns about CPEC. It tried many times to deter Pakistan to involve with china’s development. USA is a To refrain any such efforts by foreign governments there is a fundamental need to engage in diplomatic drive. As we know Pakistan is engaging in war against terrorism for several year ago. So the Security issues remain the most primary challenge to the CPEC and there is a series of actions that threaten the CPEC project Inside Pakistan itself. There is a number of organizations Protruding from Xinjiang to Gwadar consisting of groups like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Tehreeke-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Baluchistan Liberation Front (BLF), Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), Daesh (ISIS), East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and militant groups of political forces. Many of these organizations might not have any hostility with China itself but they can use attacks against the Pakistan’s interests as a means to deal with the Pakistani state. In an attack by Baluchistan Liberation Army in 2006 some Chinese engineers lost their lives. So because of these security issues in Pakistan Chinese government have their concern about the security of their engineers, workers and experts. Baluchistan insurgencies, the current shocking murder of 43 people of Ismaili Community in Karachi, Possible spillover from Afghanistan and the situation of Gilgit-Baltistan which is the most important region that provides China with only land link to Pakistan, these all aspects together are a major source of danger for the project. On china side Xinjiang Self-governing Region emerged as of major concern domestically for China because of low development and ethnic tensions primarily concerning the Muslim china wants to increase economic that unemployment and poverty is a major cause of dissatisfaction. Foreign intelligence agencies are also engaged against and magnify their support to the militants to disrupt the CPEC. Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti in his conference at Quetta mentions that “the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) are conspiring against Pakistan after the historic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement”. China Pakistan economic corridor as an economic initiative is facing challenge posed by the rivals. The Iranian port of Chabahar. Chabahar is a quiet similar project to CPEC but not as huge as CPEC. India signing agreement to construct the Chabahar Port to counter the CPEC and China’s Although India’s Chabahar port project has been pending since 2003, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan has prompted renewed interests in the Modi government. India’s plan for the investment in the development of Chabahar almost $85 million. Chabahar port lies a few miles away from Gwadar and it will provide access to India to landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia. The port will allow the Indian goods into Central Asia and a chance region. Chabahar port is crucial for India because Pakistan will never allow India-Afghanistan trade through its territory. Indeed, CPEC project mainly in China’s own interest but it is also much the Pakistan’s geopolitical importance and will also strengthen the Pakistan’s economic infrastructure. But some anti-state elements are continuously trying to sabotage the CPEC for their so called self-interests. Both states need a comprehensive policy to deal with these challenges. Pakistan and China should remain close to counter these evil forces and to make the CPEC a successful project.