China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) comprehensive project is surely and certainly a great game changer which is on one hand is developing infrastructure and energy sectors and on the other hand gradually increasing connectivity in the region. People of China and Pakistan are the main beneficiaries directly but the countries of the region will also be benefitting indirectly as the connectivity gradually increases and trade activities gain momentum with speedy, transparent and timely implementation and completion of number of projects under CPEC umbrella. Some countries of the region have already expressed their desire at various levels to be part of CPEC to benefit from its accruing fruits directly or indirectly, there are couple of countries somehow which are not only opposed to it but are even going to the extent of harming it for achieving their ulterior motives out of their persistent hostility against Pakistan. Even in some quarters, it was being mentioned that some countries beyond the region are also against CPEC and do not want China and Pakistan to accomplish this great bond of friendship through close cooperation, coordination and better mutual understanding in its implementation. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has even gone to the extent of protesting to the Chinese leadership against launching of CPEC in Pakistan. His enmity towards Pakistan and opposition to CPEC still persists though top leadership of China and Pakistan have stated it quite categorically that the CPEC is against none though it is going to benefit also the countries of the region through increased connectivity besides the people of Pakistan who are direct beneficiaries of the fruits of development, progress and prosperity so accruing from ongoing infrastructure and energy sectors development projects under CPEC umbrella. It is an open secret that Indian secret agencies are busy in hatching conspiracies to fail CPEC which, as the Chinese and Pakistani leadership, has time and again stated that the CPEC is in the interest of all, both directly and indirectly, and not against any country. Why Narendra Modi and India are opposed to CPEC? The projects under implementation across Pakistan are going to usher in an era of economic development, progress and prosperity for the people of all regions of the country and are creating more and more employment opportunities for them. `According to estimates put forth by some experts, the CPEC is expected to create over as many as 700,000 direct jobs between 2015 and 2030 and add 2 to 2.5 per cent points to the annual economic growth of the country. Quite obviously, creation of such large number of direct employment opportunities under the CPEC, which is being implemented in phases till 2030, will go a long way in reduction of poverty in the country considerably. These are , as per the experts estimates, only direct jobs and indirect jobs are still more in numbers. 

The Indian Prime Minister is trying his level best to isolate Pakistan in the comity of nations, deprive it of its rivers water under the Indus Water Treaty and take every possible step to cripple it economically besides continuing atrocities against Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir and killing of innocent citizens of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir through persistent firing across Line of Control in gross violations. So, he is opposed to the CPEC which is not only further cementing and strengthening time-tested, all weather friendly relations between China and Pakistan but also going a long way to eliminate lingering electricity load shedding, creating large number of direct and indirect employment opportunities and reducing poverty and unemployment with the completion of projects under execution all over Pakistan under the CPEC umbrella. The Indian Prime Minister is afraid of the success of the CPEC comprehensive project which is not only going to increase connectivity between the countries of the region but also will bring more and more countries in close friendly relations with Pakistan and boost its economic growth and progress. The quite clear statement of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has greatly dispelled wrong impressions that US and Western countries are against the CPEC. Pakistan has already offered India to become part of the CPEC and let its people also share benefits which have already started accruing to the people of Pakistan. 

MUHAMMAD ZAHID RIFAT,  

Lahore, February 28.