A great milestone has been achieved in the arrival of the first cargo ship carrying wheat and urea of Afghan Transit trade at the Gwadar port. For years, there has been talk of Pakistan realising its transit trade potential. It appears that with the development of CPEC, this long-held dream is finally beginning to take shape. Pakistan’s geographical location is ideal for it to reap the fruits of transit trade. Its positioning between China, India, Afghanistan and Iran as well as linkages to the Central Asian and Gulf states means that there is endless potential for Pakistan to not only facilitate trade but also become a part of the global supply chain. This is indeed why China plans to shift its sunset industries to Pakistan, where value-addition can reap great rewards for the Pakistani economy.

A functional Gwadar port will also bring employment opportunities and prosperity for the people of Balochistan. Perhaps the best way to remove the troubles in the province is by bringing economic development, which will enable mainstreaming of dissatisfied youth. As announced by the Commerce Minister Razzaq Dawood, first preference ought to be given to the citizens of Balochistan when it comes to creating a labour force at the Gwadar port and other projects in the province.

CPEC will allow Pakistan to create better economy-centric policies, and shed some burden presented by security challenges. To achieve all this, continuity and consistency in the completion of CPEC projects is absolutely crucial. Nations are able to prosper only when they reach a national consensus on certain key agendas. In a democracy, there is always dissent and competing interests and ideas. However, through open dialogue and transparency, all stakeholders can unite to change the fate of their country. The first cargo ship is here. Let’s ensure that this is only the first of many to come.