A new Pakistan is fast emerging under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CPEC process is going well since the Chinese President paid a visit to Islamabad on 20-21 April last year. The visit was delayed eighth months following protest in Islamabad staged by some political parties. Within a short span of 18 months rapid progress has been noted if one looks in the projects completed, nearly under completion, and new projects to be undertaken. Under the Early Harvest Program (EHP) a number of projects are to be completed soon and most of these projects are in Balochistan and Sindh.

A new nuclear power plant has been connected to the national grid at Chashma-3 on 15 October, making it country’s fourth nuclear power plant, generating 314 MW of electricity. Two much larger capacity nuclear power plants, K-2 and K-3, Karachi Coastal, generating 1,100 each, are under construction and will be completed by 2020 and 2021 respectively. This is widely transforming Pakistan’s economy and the social mindset toward industrialisation, rural and urban mobilisation, and modernization. The CPEC has opened up a new era of progress and prosperity across the country. This is nationally and internationally acknowledged.

The provincial viewpoint has been strongly moving in favour of the CPEC as provinces have been immensely progressing under the CPEC. The recent comments of the Governor of Balochistan, Muhammad Khan Achakzai, and the Governor of Sindh, Dr Ishratul Abad, are commendable. The former said that that “CPEC will open a new era of progress and prosperity in the country especially in Balochistan.”

The latter stated that the CPEC is the latest embodiment of the exemplary fraternal relations between the two neighbouring nations. To the Chief Minister of the Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, the CPEC “is a gift for Pakistani people from China’. The President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Adul Rauf Alam, termed that the CPEC “is a mega project and will serve as a game- changer for Pakistan economy”.

Many commentators have passed the remarks in the past that the Chairman Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaf (PTI,) Imran Khan, has been against of CPEC projects. They cited his protests and Dharnas that gave jerks to the economy. He also has doubts and reservations about the CPEC projects and the signed 51 agreements.  The dharna of August 2014 and now the lockdown of Islamabad on 2 November have been given shocks to the making of a new Pakistan under the CPEC.

The petty politics should not revolve around development of the economy.  It should be directed toward the non-development issues. By doing so we are sending a negative message to our Chinese friends and also to other donors. The CPEC foes are happy over this new development.

Fearing the sabotage of CPEC projects, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong met with Imran Khan on 18 October at Bani Gala. He assured him that his shutdown call would not sabotage the CPEC projects. He admitted that the Chinese investment is vital for the future and progress of Pakistan. On the one hand, Imran Khan assured his support for the CPEC, on the other hand, he maintained his reservations on the projects. Only time would reveal if his reservations were principled and sincere to the national interests of the country.

There are no fears about Pakistan-China relations. Both have an equal partnership. China neither dominates or dictates Pakistan’s economic system, nor does it have an intention to do so. It is a win-win relationship and shared vision, which immensely benefits Pakistan and serves its vital interests.

Pakistani should not be misguided by Western propaganda and India’s perpetual mistrust about this relationship. RAW has especially assigned tasks to media contributors to negatively propagate CPEC and established a special cell to sabotage the CPEC.

Some Pakistani politicians and media houses are also misguided like those spewing Indian propaganda and publish such comments and pass remarks without conducting proper research and investigation.

The fact is that the CPEC is a grand leap forward to build the economy of Pakistan, to convert it into an “Asian Tiger” in the present century. Let’s see the CPEC from this perspective and instead of hindering the progress we should facilitate it as a core of national politics.

 

The writer is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad. He writes on East Asian affairs.