Friday, February 23, 2024

CPEC and Pakistan – The Real Challenges Ahead

Complex Infrastructural dynamics, multi-tiered development agendas signifying the marriage of two countries on the merits of economy, CPEC is no stranger to being referred as the talk of the entire world. With several countries looking up to its development and getting interested to take part, an equal amount of people look down upon it in hopes that one day it will dissolve. No matter what the world is saying, Pakistan and China have stopped paying heed to them.

It is merely astounding as to how CPEC is causing ripples in the entire political scenario. It is becoming the cause of several states combining together to match the power of what CPEC represents. The alliance of India-Iran, India-US-Japan, the entire South-China Sea, etc. seems to be on to CPEC. In retrospect, the beneficiaries are not only China and Pakistan, but sixty other countries are going to reap the fruits of this. The market for Chinese goods, hence will be expanding. And this is precisely the reason why the opportunities and risks for Pakistan should be considered articulately.

No doubt this mega project which fathers several smaller projects has started to pay off in the form of energy for Pakistan, a whopping 10,000 MW during the course of the previous four years. But this does not change the due course of other concerns. Apart from the power addition in the overall national power production, there is the case of connecting routes and developing infrastructure to link Gwadar with Kashgar. Developing lines of communications such as highways, roads and railways, the domestic day to day trade will also increase significantly. The major form of transportation from Karachi is by a trucking fleet.

Another huge opportunity that has presented itself is the opening up of markets and routes in Baluchistan and South of KPK. This will ensure their integration in the national markets making them a significant entity in the share staking market. This will pave way for them to increase their revenue by incorporating their income and basis of retaining that income. Soon it can be predicted that their markets will flourish inviting foreign revenue on the basis of CPEC. With fiber optic access in e very part of the country all deprived areas will soon become integrated not only by land but by modern means of communication as well.

It can be said that in order to make all these above discussions come to planning and practical use, but given the above circumstances, there can be industrial zones developed in such areas. As a result several services would be limited to these zones, putting the rest of the region once again behind. In order to avoid such hectic issues, planning should be done accordingly.

Although many state that CPEC will eventually become a challenge for a developing country such as Pakistan. The presence of it, the impact it garners, the feedback it will get, the revenue it will generate will all benefit only China and leave Pakistan behind. The people who are spreading this agenda and narrative, are actually spewing hatred against it. This causes anti-national sentiment to rise in an already turbulent political environment of Pakistan. The inspiration for this hatred and sentiment can be traced back to Sri-Lanka and their contract with China over taking Hambantota port as part of a lease agreement for a total of 99 years. This has caused some major alarming state in –Pakistan as it is considered China is implementing the same entrapment agendas in Pakistan.

But these accusations are debatable and highly based on weak arguments. First of all the difference between Hambantota and Gwadar should be taken into account. Hambantota although one of the main huge ports of Srilanka was highly non-functional. Whereas Gwadar is functional and will in the near future become a major investing/trading site. The other factor comes in the form of the generation of revenue. The revenue generated from Hambantota and that of Gwadar is highly comparable. Since the former, despite all its investment made in it, has garnered not even half of the total budget allocated for it. Gwadar showcases a promising revenue generation factor and therefore gives Pakistan the power to negotiate on its behalf.

China is now making major headways in the entire world and especially in Africa. It showcases it’s ability to be flexible and transform according to the needs of the times. With the world eyeing China and its economic checkmates from afar, this has led to the garnering of more support for investing in Pakistan. As the world sees that there must be a reason for China investing heavily in Pakistan therefore it means it is safe to do so by others as well. Hence this attitude garners foreign funding and hence a possible economic stability for Pakistan on its own feet.

Pakistan has now to only realize all these opportunities, plausible collateral risks and generate ways to keep everything under control as well as not political turmoil effect the process in any way.  Pakistan has to garner national support for the project and alleviate all forms of negative propaganda propelling for it. At these crossroads, Pakistan has to take rational back and forth steps in order to assess the situation better.

This can be achieved better by streamlining the bureaucratic method and processes. As we have to constantly be on our feet to assess our positions and policies therefore it is considered better for us to keep our land routes in our hands and try to be on top of every process of CPEC. Paying attention to the details, the significant Chinese moves not only in here but in the rest of the world as well. Invite foreign funding so that not only one state reaps all the benefits but Pakistan can become a gateway to several business dealings and trade. These issues are not random and of very little importance. CPEC is a power game other than that of an economic one. Whoever controls it, will reap great benefits, but the one possessing it should not be undermined. Hence we should draw lessons from the Hambantota port but also not become rigid and stoic in our ways of action and compete cut off ourselves.

In details, out of a total of $50 Billion dollars, almost $35 Billion is already estimated to be earned in Pakistan as a part of Foreign Direct Investment. With IPP policies and implemented by the Chinese government. In which national income should one day soon enough be to repay back concessional loans on small projects under the umbrella of CPEC. The national income is estimated t increase annually at a speedy rate which would in turn alleviate energy problems and provide more employment to the people.

We  all should at all times, for the sake of the land and economic history, be ready to bring about major changes and take huge leaps in order to render ourselves worthy of being included in the big leagues. This is a make or break point for us and we should bring our A game to the international arena.

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Category: Business

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