The Diplomatic Insight - - Special Supplement on China Pakistan Economic Corr - Fed­eral Min­is­ter of Plan­ning,

he China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) is an on go­ing pro­ject that aims to con­nect China’s north­west­ern re­gion of Xin­jiang to Gwadar port of Baluchis­tan, Pak­istan through a huge net­work of roads, high­ways, rail­ways and pipe­lines. It is es­ti­mated that the road will run 2700 kilo­me­ters from Gwadar to Kash­gar. The to­tal bud­get of the pro­ject is es­ti­mated to be $46 bil­lion. A mo­tor­way of about 1100 kilo­me­ters will be con­structed from La­hore to Karachi as part of the pro­ject which will be con­nected to al­ready con­structed La­hore to Is­lam­abad mo­tor­way. A train track be­tween Pe­shawar and Karachi will also be con­structed. The Karako­rum high­way be­tween Rawalpindi and Chi­nese bor­der shall also be widened and con­structed. A net­work of pipe­lines shall also be con­structed that will be used to trans­port An ad­di­tional es­ti­mated $30 bil­lion load-shed­ding cri­sis in Pak­istan and in­fra­struc­ture for the pur­pose shall be made over all the coun­try. The China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor is not just an in­fra­struc­ture of train, roads and pipe­lines that con­nects Europe and Cen­tral Asian coun­tries with the re­gion but en­com­passes eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment but also in­tel­li­gence shar­ing be­tween the two coun­tries. The work on the pro­ject has al­ready be­gun but some aspects and tech­ni­cal­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with the route prob­lems re­lated to small provinces in Pak­istan. The pro­vin­cial as­sem­bly of Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa adopted a res­o­lu­tion against the al­leged de­ci­sion of the Fed­eral Govern­ment of Pak­istan for di­vert­ing the route in Pun­jab. The Fed­eral Min­is­ter Ah­san Iqbal had for­mally de­nied any such change in the align­ment. China and Pak­istan have de­vel­oped strong re­la­tion­ship over the pe­riod of many years. They have co­op­er­ated with each other on ev­ery mo­ment of need. China has grad­u­ally emerged as one of Pak­istan’s clos­est friend through ever bi­lat­eral trade be­tween the two coun­tries was signed in 1963. The China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) is ex­pected to fur­ther strengthen trade and eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries. Chi­nese Pre­miere Xi Jin Ping em­pha­sized con­struc­tion of the CPEC on ur­gent ba­sis. The Nawaz Sharif lead Govern­ment has also shown keen in­ter­est and en­thu­si­asm in the pro­ject. This pro­ject will not just make Gwadar a fully op­er­a­tional port but also It is im­por­tant to note that Bei­jing cer­tainly re­gards Pak­istan as a strate­gic ally against In­dia and United States of Amer­ica. It has also brought strong at­tacks on In­dia, and seek a re­duc­tion of ten­sion with Delhi. China cer­tainly is watch­ing the whole sit­u­a­tion silently ter­ror­ism or a new se­cu­rity cri­sis in the South Asia. This cor­ri­dor will also en­able In­dia im­prove its re­la­tion with Pak­istan to con­nect to Asia and Cen­tral Asian Coun­tries through the cor­ri­dor. A se­ri­ous work is go­ing on to de­velop a con­sen­sus be­tween Delhi, Is­lam­abad, Bei­jing and Wash­ing­ton DC on how to seek peace set­tle­ment in Pak­istan for smooth run­ning of the pro­ject and take De­vel­op­ment Mr.Ah­san Iqbal has said that China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) is a na­tional pro­ject well as three bil­lion peo­ple of re­gion. No prov­ince or re­gion of the coun­try would be dis­crim­i­nated in the CPEC. Ah­san Iqbal stated while talk­ing to me­dia. He also said that CPEC of­fers equal op­por­tu­ni­ties to all the provinces and re­gions of the coun­try to de­velop eco­nom­i­cally and so­cially. Govern­ment would honor all the com­mit­ments it made with the top political lead­er­ship of the coun­try in All Par­ties Con­fer­ence (APC). It is not one road pro­ject, but, a multi-sec­toral frame­work cov­er­ing en­ergy, in­fra­struc­ture, Gwadar and in­dus­trial sec­tor in the coun­try. A re­port as­sesses po­ten­tial threats and risks that could af­fect the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the CPEC pro­ject in terms of se­cu­rity, and for that pur­pose the Pak­istan Army is play­ing its part by for­ma­tion of a sep­a­rate divi­sion that will con­tain 70,000 se­cu­rity per­sonal whose role will be to pro­vide se­cu­rity to peo­ple and to this pro­ject. Longterm political sta­bil­ity in Pak­istan is very im­por­tant for the smooth im­ple­men­ta­tion and con­struc­tion of the projects that are go­ing on un­der the China Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor ban­ner. Pak­istan has gone through many changes in the last few years re­lated to political in­sta­bil­ity and tur­moil that has weak­ened the coun­tries de­vel­op­ment. Th­ese projects, if run well have the ca­pac­ity to bring hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars in ad­di­tional in­vest­ment in Pak­istan. It could re­store Pak­istan’s eco­nomic growth of the early 1960s which led econ­o­mists at the time to pre­dict that the coun­try would be one of the fu­ture lead­ing eco­nomic pow­ers of Asia. The writer is an In­for­ma­tion En­gi­neer

work­ing in Is­lam­abad at IN­SPUR

as a Deputy GM.

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