The China Pakistan Economic Corridor is the most important project for Pakistan right now. The government in fact the entire nation is focused on it as it will bring long term stability and prosperity to Pakistan. The improvement in power, infrastructure and industry will help stabilize Pakistan in terms of security. Also the CPEC connects the whole region and gives Pakistan focal importance for world trade, and will lead to it becoming a regional powerhouse. 42 countries of the world will benefit from this comprehensive project of peace and economic progress.

CPEC is a symbol of friendship between Pakistan and China and their long standing strategic partnership. Pakistan is party to the One Belt-One Road vision of China. It also harnesses the geo-strategic location of Pakistan and benefits the Vision 2025 plan of Pakistan. After completion of this project Pakistan will earn $5 billion annually and China will earn $20 million daily only through oil transportation; and the passage for oil import to China will reduce to 3000km from 12000 km. Also by 2025 the economy of Pakistan will reach approximately $800 billion.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif kicked off the first shipment of trade goods from Gwadar Port to International markets marking the historic launch of trade activity through CPEC. The trade caravan had earlier reached Gwadar under strict security cover of Pakistan Army and other security agencies. PM Nawaz Sharif while addressing a ceremony marking the departure of the first major trade cargo from Gwadar Port emphasised Pakistan’s commitment to China’s One Belt-One Road initiative.

“We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the CPEC and all the projects under its umbrella are materialised within the given time,” said the Prime Minister. “CPEC is for entire Pakistan and no region or province will be left out of it,” he said. “The government of Balochistan and the Army have been successful in making the local population a stakeholder in development... Development can never be sustainable if it creates islands of prosperity. It must reach the lives of those who have remained mired in a trap of poverty and backwardness,” this categorical statement by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should put to rest any misgivings of the people.

The success of the trade convoy shows that western route of CPEC is capable of handling goods and that development work being carried out in Balochistan is bearing fruit. Gwadar is being turned into a model port city. Road development projects are under way and a power plant of 300 megawatts is being constructed to provide electricity to Gwadar city. All development in Gwadar city is being carried under the safe city project and 25 billion rupees have been allocated and special security force has been established for the safe completion of this project. An international airport at Gwadar is also one of the projects under CPEC to internationalise this city with a vision to make it an international hub of economic activity. The development of Gwadar city shows Government of Pakistan is focusing on Balochistan and dispels the notion that Western route is not included in CPEC project.

The trade convoy departed from Kashgar, China, on Oct 29, entered Pakistan on Oct 30 and reached Gwadar on Nov 12. This is the first time that the Gwadar port is exporting containers to overseas destinations. This is also the first time that Pakistan and China co-organised a trade convoy through Pakistan to Gwadar port. The containers carry cargoes ranging from rice and cotton, to Chinese machinery, some of which is destined for Gwadar for the ongoing development works here, and the rest going abroad. Two ships — Al Hussain Zanzibar and Cosco Wellington — are berthed at Gwadar to receive the cargoes. They are setting sail for ports in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the UAE and the EU.

This project is an illuminating example of civil-military joint venture as Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif vowed to go to any extent to safeguard this project of national development. It is a signal that Pakistan is safe for investment and that foreign investors can come here without any worry.

The direct impact of CPEC will be its contribution to annual the GDP growth rate of 2.1%. Chinese investment will augment annual investment to GDP by 5.3%. Employment generation is a given. Increased revenue for government and increase in public sector investment will also take place. Indirect impact is a snow ball effect on private sector investment, transport sector, tourism industry, industrialisation in Gwadar, tapping of natural resources of Balochistan, cement and steel industry progression and many others. Another major benefit is that electricity generation is expected to increase up to 16845 MW an increase of 74% which is huge and will rectify all our energy problems for the foreseeable future. Other benefits will also be seen once the project becomes fully operational.

The CPEC has rightly been called a game changer, for it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that cannot be missed. No matter what our internal struggles, on this the entire political sphere as well as the citizens of Pakistan need to be on the same page. Such chances only come once an eon.