As time passes, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project seems to be less and less welcome. The opposition has demanded parliamentary oversight of the CPEC, and the PML-N would eat concrete before it gave in to such a demand. Taking down the CPEC means insulting China, a global and regional power. Opponents must remember that this is not like the Kalabagh Dam project, where political complaining will end the project. This is a relationship with a friendly country that could go sour if the corridor is not built due to political pressures.

All criticism accepted, the CPEC needs to be built now. There is no way to back away from it without a grand international “booing” of Pakistan’s lack of control over its politics and even more lack of control of terrorism and security. The government has decided to allocate over Rs250 billion for infrastructure sector including energy and transport in budget 2015-16 that would have an overall Rs 600bn development outlay. The process has started, no point in making sure it crashes and burns just for the opposition to celebrate a PML-N takedown. Maybe the Sharif’s will make money off these ventures, maybe they wont… but they are in power and will find ways to keep their appetite full. If this builds for Pakistan better transport networks and infrastructure, we have to capitalise on this.

Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that Sindh and Balochistan will be the biggest beneficiaries of power generation triggered by the CPEC, and it is hoped that this is true. Without advantages to Balochistan, no project can take shape or end up successful. People should realise that prosperity and jobs will come but they have to wait and not sabotage existing projects. It is time to wait and see, and think about Chinese competition and how we can grow and invest to match China and India and export our own goods.

There are accusations that is was RAW that attacked the Ismailis to kill the CPEC, but this seems a bit far fetched considering the level of hate that has been spread against the minority sects. We, our people, are to blame. Blaming a foreign hand exonerates the Pakistani state from being negligent and makes terrorism solely a foreign invention rather than a local phenomenon. The CPEC will always be controversial as it is attached to the Sharifs. In response, opponents should be demanding transparency, maps, and clarity on economic plans. The Chinese investment has to be made good for all, and if its not, it will fail in our overly critical national environment.