Balochistan to experience new era of development and prosperity
While work is underway on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), domestic as well as foreign investors are showing much interest as this venture is set to be a catalyst for Pakistan to grow its economy at same pace achieved by the leading regional peers.
Soon after the launch of this project, major business groups have invested for expanding their production capacity of such materials as cement, steel, electric cables and glass that they expect these supplies will be in huge demand as work on the CPEC projects will move ahead at a faster pace in the months to come.
The CPEC is not a project restricted to the present government’s tenure as this project of US$46 billion is a 15-year-long project and wholly completed in 2030. The project is a fusion of the Pakistan Vision 2025 plan and China’s One Road-One Belt initiative.
Cement and steel sectors have expanded their production capacity to meet the demand. The completion of a stretch of road from Turbat to Hoshab as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is reason to feel gratified that the project is moving ahead with speed. The length of the road is 193kms, and it is going to connect the port city of Gwadar with the road network in Sindh for northward travel. It will finally provide Gwadar with an alternative route to the Makran Coastal Highway, the route of which defeated the purpose of landing goods at the port.
Following this, an airport and a railway line is also to be laid down, along with the necessary infrastructure for expanding residential facilities in Gwadar itself, including the provision of fresh water.
Economic experts told PAGE that the improved security situation is attracting foreign investors to Pakistan who, besides exploiting country’s market potential, also desire to benefit the ideal strategic location of Pakistan.
In longer term, the CPEC would benefit the whole country which includes all provinces. All national and regional political leaders must think about the overall development of Pakistan instead of dividing themselves into Punjab, Sindh, Pashtun or Baloch. There is a firm opinion by some intellectuals that if the politicians continued impeding the project, CPEC could prove to be another Kalabagh Dam; a 3,600 megawatt project that fell prey to the favoritism of provincial parties and fall just short before launch.
Much benefit for Balochistan
Three universities being established on the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan will start functioning this year, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal said. The universities were part of the government’s efforts to produce quality human resource while focusing on infrastructural development and energy production through CPEC.
The economic corridor, a trans-regional project, will benefit three billion people in the region through enhanced regional connectivity with Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and play an instrumental role in integrating the whole region.
The CPEC will benefit the most backward areas of the country and this change has started to appear in the form of emerging settlements alongside a section of the western route from Quetta to Gwadar, which is scheduled to be completed by end of this year, sources said adding Balochistan would experience a new era of development and prosperity when missing links on the western and central routes will be completed.
Destiny of Pakistan’s youth
According to the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a project that would change the fate of Pakistani generations to come.
Analysts said the CPEC is the leading project of China’s ambitious vision for a modern reconstruction of the Silk Road. The project, on completion will boost confidence of countries and regions along the routes. For regional development, the network will ultimately expand to link other countries, stimulating an economic and trade boom in the region.
According to them, the CPEC is a transformative project, which holds enormous potential for transforming lives of region’s people. It will not only change the destiny of the whole region but also opens a new vista of common development. The corridor will also provide China an opportunity to reach European and African markets through land route.
For Pakistan it is expected that under CPEC out of total US$46 billion, the US$34 billion would be allocated to energy sector while US $11 billion would be spent on communication and infrastructure. The 3,000km economic corridor is an under-construction mega project to connect Gwadar Port in southern Pakistan to China’s north-western city of Kashgar.
The CPEC will be a game-changer and its major beneficiaries will include Pakistan, China and Gulf countries. Last year, the Chinese government committed to build the corridor, which will include the construction of highways, railways and natural gas and oil pipelines connecting China to the Middle East.
When the corridor is materialized it will serve as a primary gateway for trade between China and the Middle East and Africa. In particular, oil from the Middle East could be offloaded at Gwadar and transported to China through Balochistan province in Pakistan. Such a link will vastly cut the 12,000km route that Middle East oil supplies takes to reach Chinese ports. Apart from shortening the distance for the Chinese exports and imports it will enhance the trade volume in the whole region.
Favor for Pakistan
On the other hand, geo-strategic location of Pakistan makes it the direct beneficiary of this mega economic corridor. In the same context, volume of the services sector, infrastructure and industrial sector will reach to new heights.
The CPEC is being considered as an economic booster, which will help raise economic growth of Pakistan to a desire level. Increased trade, production and export would definitely give Pakistan more space in international markets. An immediate effect of construction of the CPEC will be a boost in foreign investment flows.
China is the largest foreign investor in Pakistan, with inflows of US $696 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014. Besides increasing foreign direct investment, the project will support Pakistan’s external position by bolstering trade flows between the two countries, which have already doubled since 2009 to US$8.6 billion in 2014.
The CPEC is a corridor of opportunity for Pakistan where people of all provinces will be benefited in terms of economic and human development. All provinces and political parties of Pakistan unanimously supported CPEC given its long-term benefits particularly Pakistan and generally for whole region. Building of Gwadar Port, projects like road links, industrial parks, power projects, rail links and fiber optics are the prominent features of the visionary economic corridor benefiting and uniting all ethnic groups in Pakistan.
Pak-China relations are based on equality and all weather friendship. The main indicator of their brotherly relation is that China neither intervenes in Pakistan’s internal affairs nor it tries to dictate Pakistan like the US.
China believes in peaceful rise and follows policy of non-intervention in other country’s affairs. China likes to develop peaceful relations with its neighbors. China is a stabilizing factor in the region. It’s Land Silk Route and Maritime Silk Route initiatives are the steps to strengthen the underdeveloped economies. China needs to invest overseas to help digest its domestic excessive production capacity while Pakistan is in dire need of foreign direct investment. In this connection, CPEC would prove to be a milestone for both countries growth.