Deeper than oceans, higher than Himalayas and sweeter than honey are the rightly worded adages used to describe the time tested friendship between Pakistan and China. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will bring the two countries even closer and the Chinese trade trucks and companies bearing the red flag are expected to be a common sight in Pakistan.

The strength of this relationship lies in the heart of Pakistanis who believe China to be an all-weather friend and expect a prosperous future from this friendship. However there are some things which if not addressed may lead to weaken this comradeship which is based on trust and sincerity.

A pertinent example in this case is the bidding for the Havelian-Thakot section of Karakoram Highway for which only the Chinese companies were allowed to participate. With the absence of competition from Pakistani and international companies the bids that were submitted were more than double of the NHA’s PC-I cost estimate worked out to be under Rs 97 Bn. The high cost of projects will be debited to the loans for Pakistan which can be avoided at this stage.

Pakistani companies have constructed high quality roads in an outside the country (particularly in Gulf & Middle East). The advent of Public Private Partnership projects have encouraged the financial sector and infrastructure development companies to come forward for enhancing the pace of development which is a good omen for strengthening our own resources for the progress of Pakistan. According to established practice even foreign companies later sublet the contracts to Pakistani companies which implement them on ground.

What to talk of encouraging the indigenous resources we are not even allowing them to compete on equal terms with foreign economies. By denying opportunities for our own people how can we expect Pakistan’s economy to grow by leaps and bounds from the CPEC as touted by the present government?

MUHAMMAD RASHID ALI,

Rawalpindi, September 3.