CPEC: A road towards peace, stability and prosperity

Pakistan-China is progressing fast, in the coming years, Pakistan could be seen as an economically stable and more secure state. 

Currently, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been a hot topic of discussion. Basically, CPEC, also known as the project of multiple roads of one corridor, has its major alignments with Pakistan through western, eastern and central fronts that are connected through highways and railways. However, the western alignment is believed to be the most important one because it has opened the doors of prosperity and development in Baluchistan and KPK. This will be the route on which Chinese investors will establish their manufacturing units, increasing the employment opportunities in these remote areas.

Moreover, this one belt one road project aims to connect Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan to China’s southwestern autonomous Xinjiang region, providing a network of highways, railways, and pipelines to transport oil and gas. As Pakistan is located at the crossroads of South Asia, therefore, this advantage would greatly benefit China through the reduction of tariffs and fees on the Chinese freight that passes through this route.

During his visit to Pakistan, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in May 2013, proposed that the CPEC will act as a bridge for the new Maritime Silk Route that foresees linking three billion people in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Furthermore, CPEC is beneficial for both Pakistan and China and could be seen as a major development between the two countries. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will bring about $70 billion annual revenue in the form of transit fees. This amount of money can be used to fund several projects in Pakistan for power generation as well as for completing the Pakistan-Iran Gas pipeline. Besides, the free network of highways, free power projects, convenient connectivity between all the provinces could be considered a way to deal with the problems of unemployment.

Presently, a much-heated debate over China and Pakistan’s new economic cooperation corridor has gained attention. CPEC is believed to be a threat by some of the western states, Europe, specifically the United States and India. China is an emerging economy and the fact that the paradigm of power has been shifting from west to east, and it has become clear that the United states and India will leave no stone unturned to restrain the project.

Despite all the obstacles, the importance of CPEC cannot go unnoticed. Gwadar to Kashgar route will not only decrease the distance between China and the resourceful Middle East, but it would also provide a secure oil route to China. Chinese government, however, is investing $46 billion in order to continue the trade through Gwadar port which is located in the forefront of Strait of Hormuz which is the pathway of $40 trillion trade in a year; moreover, it will decrease the shipping cost of China to the Middle East and other developing and African countries.

Currently, Pakistan army’s Chief General Qamar Jawaid Bajwa has expressed hope that the timely completion of this project would usher in a new era of development in the region. Further, he said the development in the Baluchistan area would ensure peace and stability in the country which our enemies don’t want.

Finally, the project not only enhances Pakistan’s economic infrastructure but also boosts all other areas of development from agriculture to manufacture, society to education, employment and security.

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Marriam Javed

Marriam is a student of defence and diplomatic studies at Fatima Jinnah Women University