Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 168

Making the most of CPEC

M U H A M M A D AM I R R A N A P U B L I S H E D Jun 19, 2016 04:23am

andis Pakistan
a security consider
CPEC a significant milestone in the
emerging politics of the region, it has the
potential to change the strategic and geo-
economic dynamics across the whole of
Both sides appear enthusiastic about the
corridor, but for different reasons. For
China, CPEC is a flagship project, an
important component of its much larger
One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. For
Pakistan, it is a strategic and economic
game changer in the region.
However, the excitement surrounding this
initiative also entails undercurrents of
frustration at times. China anticipated a
smooth implementation of CPEC-linked
projects, but the slow pace and patchy
consensus on the project within Pakistan
have annoyed Beijing. The Pakistani
establishment has attempted to use CPEC
and its friendship with China as a strategy
for balancing regional power, mainly
against India, with less focus on the
economic advantages of the initiative.
Despite these mixed feelings both sides can
learn a lot, to their mutual benefit. So far,
they have avoided taking impulsive steps
which could compound frustrations.
Pakistan is learning to simultaneously
manage and balance internal pressures and
compulsions with its foreign policy
orientation. China is experiencing a new
partnership; different from its African
experiences, but very useful for its OBOR
engagements in the region.
The Chinese success in Africa ie how
they won and executed mega infrastructure
projects in many parts of the continent is
commendable. However, these ample
opportunities for Chinese investors were
only achieved by Chinas unconditional
support for those countries unsavoury
regimes. Critics also point to corruption and
kickbacks, which fast-tracked
implementation and completion.

Maintaining consensus ensures transparency and socio-political stability.

Pakistan and South Asia are different from

the African region. Although corruption is a
big issue in the national discourse and
scandals such as the Panama leaks continue
to destabilise the governments credibility
the government cannot use authoritarian
powers to suppress the opposition, media,
judiciary and, above all, the common
citizens grievances.
The political government cannot do without
consensus among stakeholders, especially
on national issues. In some cases, building
consensus takes time but, once developed,
it ensures transparency and, most
importantly, socio-political stability
critical to paving the way for long-term
The Colombo Port City project is a good
example of this: the project had been signed
off by the previous government, but due to
internal criticism and lack of transparency
the new government suspended work on the
project. President Maithripala Sirisenas
government has recently given the go-
ahead to resume the initiative after
developing consensus and making changes
to the terms of the project.
Dictatorial leadership cannot build
consensus on critical national issues
such regimes have triggered anti-
establishment and anti-Punjab sentiments in
its federating units, and have also caused
socio-political frustrations which have
impacted internal security. Besides the
many issues of resource distribution, the
Kalabagh dam is a classical example of
military rulers failing to evolve consensus
despite all their efforts. It suits political
governments best to evolve and maintain
consensus as they have previously done;
the settlement of water resource
distribution, national financial awards, and
some critical constitutional corrections are
a few recent examples.
Even on CPEC, consensus is intact because
all political stakeholders are generally in
agreement. If some provinces or political
parties continue to have reservations, there
are forums available where these issues can
be discussed.
The smooth implementation of CPEC-
linked projects requires that all our
constitutional and legal safeguards are
functional and free of bureaucratic hurdles.
The government has promised incentives,
such as a one-window operation and
coordination networks for foreign investors
and stakeholders, to create a better
investment climate in the country. To
facilitate Chinese investors, the government
could introduce a separate mechanism both
on the federal and provincial levels. The
provinces could accelerate the process of
establishing special economic zones, which
would also attract investors from other
There is a need to make the Council of
Common Interests more effective and
functional. At the same time, parliamentary
committees on CPEC should be vigilant
and enhance their contributions from
monitoring to actively giving advice. If
needed, a special oversight committee on
CPEC can be formed, made up of
representatives from political parties,
chambers of commerce, technocrats, and
experts. Considering that security is a
critical issue for the project, representatives
of the security establishment can also be
Another issue which Chinese experts often
highlight is the lack of any scientific
approach in Pakistan, with indirect
references to the fact that the eastern route
much more feasible from economic,
security and strategic perspectives
should be prioritised. According to their
rationale, a scientific approach is needed to
manage costs and long routes. However, a
political government cannot sell this idea as
it incurs a political cost. The better
approach for the government would be to
bear the economic costs and to focus on
both routes simultaneously. This is
important, both for national unity and
political stability.
Many experts rightly evaluate the strategic
importance of CPEC increasing in
importance given the fluid geopolitical
context of the region. The Gwadar port is
important for China and Pakistan in
emerging strategic scenarios in the Indian
Ocean, and will give them an enormous
edge over their competitors. Would it be
wise to capitalise on strategic advantages
only when it also holds economic
opportunities when neither comes at the
others cost?
To put it simply, it is not that Pakistan
would gain strategic advantages only if it
sacrificed its economic interests. China
may also not favour the idea of
overemphasising the strategic importance
of CPEC and Gwadar, but rather use them
as important markers on its blueprint for
OBOR. Chinas strategic and economic
positions would not be damaged if Pakistan
continued to use its strategic advantages to
balance regional politics and manage its
relationship with the US.
CPEC is an experiment for both China and
Pakistan. From it, China can learn how to
execute OBOR in other parts of the region
with similar political and social credentials.
For Pakistan, it presents a test: to hold its
nerves and implement CPEC without any
major political and security turbulence.
The writer is a security analyst.
Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2016
Strategic Significance &
Challenges for CPEc
In May 2013, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang

paid a visit to Pakistan and floated the

idea of the China Pakistan Economic

Corridor (CPEC). This was a unique

opportunity for the uplift of Pakistan to

resolve its myriad problems and its

leaders wholeheartedly welcomed the

Chinese Premier's benevolent proposal.

After assuming the mantle of Prime

Minister, quite naturally, Beijing was his

first port of call for Mian Nawaz Sharif

and the CPEC Project was finalized. In

order to fast track the project, China and

Pakistan have established the Joint

Cooperation Committee (JCC) on the

Long-term Planning of CPEC, and set up

three working groups of energy,

transportation infrastructure and

comprehensive planning in JCC. Both

sides have reached initial consensus on

the planning and construction of the

Economic Corridor, based on a series of

discussions and consultations.

President Xi Jinping's visit to Islamabad

in April 2015 gave the stamp of authority

to the project. Under the terms of the

CPEC, China will construct a 4,000 km

long railroad network from Kashgar to

Gwadar along with the construction of 12

to 13 special economic zones along the

proposed corridor at a cost of $ 45

billion. The priorities of the project are

spread over various sectors: transport

and communications, energy, investment

and industry and the inevitable people-

to-people cooperation. China intends

linking the CPEC with other regions such

as Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asian

States and later with India. President Xi

Jinping's One Belt One Road (OBOR) or

the New Silk Road project including the

Maritime Silk Route will encompass the

CPEC. It is expected that the CPEC will

benefit over three billion people in the


While the CPEC project has tremendous

strategic advantages, it also faces

numerous challenges.

CPEC is expected to be a game changer

not only for the people of Pakistan but

the entire region, most of which

comprises a population which faces the

challenges of earning its livelihood, lack

of communication, energy sources,

education and medical facilities. CPEC is

an alternative energy route to states like

Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan,

Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. These

countries are most dependent on Russian

oil and gas exports through the Black

Sea. Economic related activities of the

CPEC, which include industrial parks and

commercial zones will provide job

opportunities and means of

transportation for their farm produce or

manufactured goods to various markets

across Eurasia. Similarly, the corridor

can benefit the oil rich gulf countries for

the transportation of their fuel supply.

For China, CPEC reduces the

transportation of fuel by 2200

Kilometers. The corridor will also provide

transit facilities for goods with storage,

transportation and manufacturing for

Pakistan, China and other countries in

the region to the world market. Various

other businesses on the sidelines will

also flourish like banking, travel

services, hospitality industry, electrical,

recreational, shipyard and ship repair.

Oil and gas refineries, distribution

outlets and related industries will get an

opportunity to burgeon. Education and

medical amenities will serve the people

on both sides of the economic corridor.

In addition to the enormous economic

benefits, the CPEC serves the

geostrategic interests of the two

countries. The physical proximity of

Xinjiang with Pakistan and the strategic

partnership between Pakistan and China

will be best served by the CPEC.

The challenges to the CPEC are both

internal and external. Internally, the

18th Amendment to Pakistan's

Constitution has delegated numerous

powers to the provinces, which has

strengthened the provinces but at times

is detrimental to evolving consensus on

vital national issues such as the CPEC.

Both the underdeveloped provinces of

Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

have expressed reservations over the

proposed new route of the corridor,

which may hamper the completion of the

project. Moreover, security situation in

these provinces is another impediment

towards the smooth functioning of the

corridor. Additionally, Pakistan's

unstable political system carries the

potential to delay the implementation of

the CPEC.
For China, the Xinjiang Uygur

Autonomous region had suffered from

discontent in the past. Hopefully, the

launching of various development

projects including the OBOR will quell


Externally, the CPEC faces challenges

from India and Iran, who perceive the

corridor to be a competition. India has

helped Iran develop its port of Chah

Bahar and established a rail-road link

through Afghanistan, offering the port

facilities to Central Asia and Afghanistan

for the transit of their goods. Growing

Indo-US and the budding US-Iran

relations after the nuclear deal and the

rising Indo-Iranian influence in

Afghanistan may be a cause for concern

for both Pakistan and China. US-Indian

nexus may attempt to encircle China in

the long run.

India has also invested in Afghanistan

and is desirous of playing a major role

there. The advent of CPEC and China's

sponsorship of various reconstruction

projects in Afghanistan has not only

made India vary but also adopt

diplomatic and nonconventional methods

to derail and disrupt the completion of

There is also possible cause for concern

that Russian influence in the Central

Asian republics may lead to roadblocks

since Moscow believes in the status quo

with respect to the construction of a new

pipeline in the Caspian region. Russia

also enjoys monopoly over the existing

routes from Caspian to Europe and

beyond. The construction of new

pipelines in terms of the CPEC and

related economic corridors may

challenge Russia's monopoly. US analysts

are also referring to China's cooperation

in the corridor as China's string of pearls

strategy, which refers to China's

perceived control of the Sea Lines of

Communication (SLOC).
To counter the internal challenges,

Pakistan has already taken steps to build

consensus amongst its politicians for

wholeheartedly supporting the project.

To thwart any attempts of threatening

the security of the project, Pakistan has

established a Division level force under

the command of a Major General to

safeguard the CPEC and the personnel

deployed to complete it.

For pacifying the detractors of CPEC,

both China and Pakistan need to engage

in exterior diplomatic maneuvers for

assuring the world that CPEC will benefit

the entire region and result in a win-win

situation for all.

(The author is a retired PAF Group

Captain and a TV talk show host based in


Significance of
By Sabina Khan
Published: September 4, 2016

The writer has a masters degree in conflict-resolution from
Monterey Institute of International Studies in California and blogs
at http://coffeeshopdiplomat.wordpress.com

In Pakistan, the significance of

the China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor (CPEC) is poorly
understood. The Straits of
Malacca connect China with
global trade through an
expansive 12,000km sea route.
Then, to transport their goods to
the Xingjiang region, the
Chinese must travel another
3,500km over land. A quarter of
the worlds, and most of Chinas
oil, passes through the Straits,
whose control is continually
challenged for domination by
the US Navy and Indian
pretensions giving rise to the
Malacca Dilemma. The CPEC
reduces Chinas route from the
Indian Ocean to 3,000km across
Pakistani territory from the
Gwadar Port and avoids the
Straits altogether. It facilitates
trade by road and rail, while at
the same time boosting oil and
gas pipelines through
infrastructure enhancement.
Gwadar has a 200,000 tonne
tanker capacity, which presents
unmatched opportunities for
boosting global economic
interactivity within Pakistan.
Located strategically at the tail
of the Corridor, yet at the
confluence of most of the
worlds oil-producing states,
Gwadar automatically becomes
one of the largest transshipment
ports. It is envisaged to have an
international airport, crude oil
refineries and the ability to dock
larger ships, turning it into a
robust trade and transportation
Apprehensions about
interdiction and disruption of the
CPEC are understandable, with
India, the Middle East and the
US, all likely to be affected by
the deal. Pakistan can expect to
find itself targeted by those
focused intently on containing
China. Afghanistan has already
threatened to block energy
pipelines from Central Asia, quid
pro quo for Pakistan blocking
land access to India.
Fortunately, China has
reincarnated the Silk Route
through Kyrgyzstan via Kashgar
as a way to circumvent
Afghanistan. Encouraged by
Indian instigation, Afghanistan
has now rejected the Durand
Line with new vigour, negatively
impacting the CPEC by inciting
Pakhtun sentiment.
India, too, has rediscovered new
urgency to integrate Gilgit-
Baltistan into Indian-occupied
Kashmir. It envisages severing a
Pak-China land connection and is
at pains to present new maps to
the world, which project Gilgit as
Indian territory, a shameless
attempt to shape international
opinion. Also, with its huge coal
reserves, the Thar desert in
southern Pakistan is another
hotspot due to being
instrumental in energy
generation projects integrated
into the CPEC. This area could
be uniquely vulnerable to Indian
interference. A potential for
future conflict looms ominously
and puts Pakistan in a
dangerous situation, with there
being threats at its extremities,
i.e., at Gilgit, Thar, as well as the
western border.
Pakistan is likely to suffer even
more political instability,
insurgency, terrorism,
ideological conflicts and
separatist movements as the
CPEC progresses. For its part,
Pakistan must become more
adept at diplomacy and
supplement those efforts with
political reforms at home. If the
CPEC is to be a success, the
military will play a key role in
balancing dynamic responses to
repel hostile activity at the limbs
while also protecting Chinas
projects from terrorism. The
CPECs security would further
benefit by integrating more
stakeholders, especially the
Balochis, who could significantly
benefit from the success of the
Gwadar Port but currently feel
neglected. Of the possible
foreign partners, Russia is
positioned to be a beneficiary of
the new trade route and thus
makes a natural target for
support. Its involvement would
be a way to counter the Indo-US
nexus. The competitive nature of
the US may even inspire Russia
to jump into the fray at some
point. No matter how you cut it,
the global implications of the
CPEC cant be ignored and
Pakistan must be prepared to
fight on all fronts to achieve
Published in The Express
Tribune, September 5th, 2016.

CPEC: a positive
By Ahsan Iqbal
Published: August 28, 2016

On July 5, 2013, a memorandum

of understanding (MoU) on the
China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor (CPEC) was signed
between the governments of
China and Pakistan on the
occasion of Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharifs first foreign visit
after assuming power. The
Ministry of Planning,
Development & Reform of
Pakistan and the National
Development and Reform
Commission of China were
entrusted the responsibility of
translating the vision of their
respective leaderships into
reality. Within a year that MoU
was turned into an
understanding on a portfolio of
Chinese investment of $46
billion in various projects.
Besides this, a significant
commitment was made by
Pakistan from its resources for
CPEC-related projects. Within a
short span of three years,
despite a loss of eight months
due to domestic political crises,
projects worth $18 billion have
been actualised. Moreover,
investment projects worth $17
billion are in the pipeline with
completing formalities to be
launched within a year or so.
This is a remarkable story of
devotion, commitment and hard
work of Pakistani and Chinese
colleagues who are involved in
the CPEC.
CPECs western route to be
ready by 2018

When others were writing off

Pakistan as an economic
partner, China showed trust in
us and Pakistan has always
cherished its friendly ties with
China. But the CPEC is going to
turn this friendship into a
strategic economic partnership.
In 2014, there were 12 other
countries that were investing
more in Pakistan in terms of
foreign direct investment (FDI)
than China. Today Chinese FDI in
Pakistan has reached the
number one spot.
The CPEC is going to serve as a
gateway for trade not only for
China and Pakistan, but for the
whole region. Better
connectivity in the region is
going to improve trade among
Pakistan, China, Iran,
Afghanistan and the Central
Asian Republics. No country in
the region should feel
threatened by the CPEC as
everyone in the region would
benefit from it due to enhanced
economic activity and trade.
Pakistan envisages the CPEC as
a peace-enabler because when
connectivity and trade increases
between countries, they tend to
avoid conflicts. Thus it is not a
hyperbole to regard the CPEC as
a game changer for Pakistan and
South Asia.
At the same time, we should not
get complacent. Previously we
have missed golden economic
opportunities. In the 1960s,
Pakistan was provided with a
chance to revolutionise its
agriculture via seeds of high-
yield varieties. This was so
promising that it was dubbed as
the green revolution. Pakistan
did in fact increase its
agricultural output after the
introduction of these high-yield
varieties. But the gains were
moderate at best. The key
constraint was that advantages
of new technologies were not
widespread. Small landholders in
particular and remote parts of
Pakistan in general, could not
benefit from green revolution
technologies. On the other
hand, countries of East Asia
used the same technologies to
transform their economic
journey. The likes of South Korea
and Taiwan produced massive
surpluses in their agriculture
sectors. They effectively
channeled that surplus towards
Pakistan has been provided with
a golden opportunity the
CPEC. It has all the right
ingredients to transform the
countrys socioeconomic
landscape. Now it is time for
every Pakistani to realise the
importance of this project. Every
one of us needs to chip in with
our unique contribution to make
it a success story and a case
study for the rest of the world.
Among other things the
desideratum, of an advanced
industrialised economy are
infrastructure and energy.
Pakistan is currently facing huge
deficits in both areas. Thus it is
in our immediate interest to
build new infrastructure and
reduce energy deficits.
Moreover, inclusive growth,
which is integral for sustainable
peace and prosperity, cannot be
realised without
industrialisation. In order to
industrialise, a developing
country requires investment in
infrastructure and energy to
support and facilitate
production, distribution and
exchange of goods and services.
Investments in infrastructure
and energy require huge sums
of capital. Furthermore, the
dividends of these projects
mature in the medium to long
run. Less-developed countries
like Pakistan have capital
constraints so it puts them in a
catch-22 situation. On the one
hand, it is quintessential that a
less-developed economy
undertake large-scale
investments but on the other
hand due to scarcity of capital
and low human development,
these countries cant afford to
allocate all resources towards
infrastructure and energy. An
effective and pragmatic policy
has to consider these trade-offs.
Controversy over CPEC: K-P,
FATA residents threaten
protest outside Chinese

Another key aspect that less-

developed countries needs to be
wary of is the uneven
development within a country.
Capital (investment) goes to
places where it can amass the
highest rate of return. Remote
and under-developed parts of a
country do not have networks of
forward and backward linkages.
As a result, returns to capital
would be low in those places.
Thus capital would go to places
which already have some level
of infrastructure in place. This
reinforces uneven development
and it leads to social conflict in a
Being cognisant of these factors,
our government has taken up a
daunting task i.e., to spur
economic growth in concurrence
with lifting historically
marginalised and disadvantaged
areas. In Vision 2025 we
stipulated inclusive and
sustainable economic growth as
our way forward. The
conceptualisation and
actualisation of the CPECs
western route is a testimonial to
our commitment towards
materialisation of inclusive and
sustainable growth in Pakistan.
By taking fruits of development
to under-developed areas, the
CPEC will not only fulfill the huge
gaps in infrastructure and
energy needs, it will also
empower historically
disadvantaged people and
places of Pakistan including
Balochistan, Khyber-
Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-
The transport route of CPEC is
going to connect Kashgar
(China) to Gwadar Port
(Pakistan) via three alignments,
western, central & eastern,
which pass through all
provinces. The rail network will
be upgraded and modernised
with Peshawar-Karachi ML1 in
the first phase, on which speed
of trains will increase from
80km/hr to 160km/hr. Besides
the rail network will be
expanded towards Gwadar and
Quetta to be linked with
Peshawar. All infrastructure
projects are on concessional
terms with the Chinese
government proposing a panel
of three reputed firms, with the
lowest bidder getting the
On the energy front, more than
$35 billion are in IPP mode.
These are private sector
investments coming under our
energy policy, which is open for
all. These projects would not
only reduce our energy deficit
but is also going to bring down
the cost of generation with
cheaper power. After 70 years,
the CPEC is harnessing the
commercial potential of our
indigenous coal in Thar to
produce electricity.
Gwadar is a gateway for the
CPEC. It is changing rapidly and
it is going to be one of the most
robust cities of Pakistan in the
future. A new port, airport,
expressway, technical college,
hospital, university, city
infrastructure, and water
projects etc. are some of the
concrete changes Gwadar is and
will be experiencing. Economic
activity has already accelerated
multifold. By the end of this
year, Gwadar will be connected
with Quetta via Sorab and with
Sukkur via Khuzdar bringing
connectivity to the most
underdeveloped areas of
Balochistan with the rest of the
country. DI Khan will be
connected with KKH via a new
route agreed in the All Parties
Conference. On the other end of
the CPEC, GB will be
transformed into a model of new
eco-economy bringing prosperity
for people while safeguarding its
rich environment.
Federal govt has dodged
Chinese govt over CPEC

These infrastructure and energy

sector projects are government-
led initiatives. But when it
comes to industrial cooperation
between the two countries, both
recognise that private business
initiatives are highly important.
Therefore, business-to-business
networks between Chinese and
Pakistani counterparts are an
integral aspect of the CPEC. Joint
ventures between private
enterprises of both countries
would be key to expanding the
frontiers of innovation,
technology and trade. To
synchronise the economic and
business needs of both
countries, industrial and special
economic zones are going to be
established in every province.
The CPEC-Summit taking place
today in Islamabad is a first
major initiative in this regard.
The key to the CPECs success is
a broader consensus among all
major stakeholders. Everyone
was heard out and if anyone had
any concerns, those were
addressed immediately. Unlike
previous mega-projects, the
CPEC is inclusive, based on the
welfare of historically
disadvantaged areas. This
makes its continuous and long-
term success our nations first
and foremost priority.
Published in The Express
Tribune, August 29th, 2016.

JANUARY 15, 2016

CHINA-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

is the leading project of Chinas ambitious
vision for a modern reconstruction of the Silk
Road. The development will offer a glimpse
into how China plans to realize the Belt and
Road Initiative, while success will boost
confidence of countries and regions along
the routes. For regional development, the
network will ultimately expand to link other
countries, stimulating an economic and trade
boom in the region.
The CPEC is a transformative project, which
holds enormous potential for transforming
lives of regions people. It will not only
change the destiny of the whole region but
also opens a new vista of common
development. The corridor will also provide
China an opportunity to reach European and
African markets through land route. It is
expected that out of total US $46 billion, the
US $34 billion would be allocated to energy
sector while US $11 billion would be spent
on communication and infrastructure.
The CPEC will be a game-changer and its
major beneficiaries will include Pakistan,
China and Gulf countries. Last year, the
Chinese government committed to build the
corridor, which will include the construction
of highways, railways and natural gas and oil
pipelines connecting China to the Middle
East. The 3,000km economic corridor is an
under-construction mega project to connect
Gwadar Port in southern Pakistan to Chinas
north-western city of Kashgar. When the
corridor is materialized it will serve as a
primary gateway for trade between China
and the Middle East and Africa. In particular,
oil from the Middle East could be offloaded
at Gwadar and transported to China through
Balochistan province in Pakistan. Such a link
will vastly cut the 12,000km route that Middle
East oil supplies takes to reach Chinese
ports. Apart from shortening the distance for
the Chinese exports and imports it will
enhance the trade volume in the whole
Geo-strategic location of Pakistan makes it
the direct beneficiary of this mega economic
corridor. In the same context, volume of the
services sector, infrastructure and industrial
sector will reach to new heights. CPEC is
being considered as an economic booster,
which will help to raise economic growth of
Pakistan to a desire level. Increased trade,
production and export would definitely give
Pakistan more space in international
markets. An immediate effect of construction
of the CPEC will be a boost in foreign
investment flows. China is the largest foreign
investor in Pakistan, with inflows of US $696
million in the fiscal year ended June 30,
2014.Besides increasing foreign direct
investment, the project will support
Pakistans external position by bolstering
trade flows between the two countries, which
have already doubled since 2009 to US $8.6
billion in 2014. The CPEC is a corridor of
opportunity for Pakistan where people of all
provinces will be benefited in terms of
economic and human development. All
provinces and political parties of Pakistan
unanimously supported CPEC given its long-
term benefits particularly Pakistan and
generally for whole region. Building of
Gwadar port, projects like road links,
industrial parks, power projects, rail links and
fibre optics are the prominent features of the
visionary economic corridor benefiting and
uniting all ethnic groups in Pakistan.
The Chinese development projects under
the umbrella of CPEC are not welcomed by
some foreign powers. Many foreign
countries and their intelligence agencies are
extending their support to the militants to
sabotage multibillion-dollar CPEC project.
Juxtapose to it, India has already voiced its
unfair reservations against the CPEC, which
China out-rightly rejects. Islamabad has
voiced its concern that hostile Indian spy
agency RAW has been whipping up
terrorism in Pakistan on the bases of
evidences regarding RAWs involvement in
Karachi and Balochistans terrorist incidents.
Moreover, Indian Defence Minister, Manohar
Parrikar publicly outlined the strategy of
waging proxy wars in Pakistan through
sponsoring terrorism to counter terrorism as
a state policy while offering the double
financial budget to the terrorist groups who
are involved in terrorist actives. India is
constantly using Afghanistans land to
destabilize Pakistan. In this context, there is
a need that international community should
take notice on these irresponsible
statements coming from Delhi and RAWs
involvement in terrorist activities against
Pak-China relations are based on equality
and all weather friendship. The main
indicator of their brotherly relation is that
China neither intervenes in Pakistans
internal affairs nor it tries to dictate Pakistan
like the US. China believes in peaceful rise
and follows policy of non-intervention in
other countrys affairs. China likes to develop
peaceful relations with its neighbours. China
is a stabilizing factor in the region. Its Land
Silk Route and Maritime Silk Route initiatives
are the steps to strengthen the
underdeveloped economies. China needs to
invest overseas to help digest its domestic
excessive production capacity while
Pakistan is in dire need of foreign direct
investment. In this regard, CPEC would
prove to be a milestone for both countries
The article was carried by Pakistan

Pakistans debt trap 2.0

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
continues to find itself in controversy. In this
regard, two narratives have run parallel: one is
aimed at highlighting the projects potential in
terms of regional and domestic economic
prosperity while the second is associated with
Pakistans internal political, security and
economic dynamics that continue to persist as a

Two things stand out as far as the projects

successful implementation is concerned: one,
Beijing has never invested in places where it
doesnt stand to gain commercially or militarily.
Therefore, the billions of dollar worth investment
in Pakistan was not the result of an impromptu
vision; rather a well thought out policy rests
behind the mega funding where China stands to
gain on global scale. Moreover, its obvious that
Beijing wants to see the project come through
for only then its One Belt One Road regional
and global project can ascertain its effective
relevancy. Second, the successful
implementation of CPEC as mentioned above
by and large depends on Pakistans internal
challenges rather than external pressures.

For Pakistan, the challenge begins with the

terms of bilateral lending where Pakistan
remains at loss for apparently the entire
ownership of the plan has been leased out to
Beijing. While the government remains reluctant
from releasing the strategic details of the
project, its evident that majority of the loans
offered to Pakistan by Chinese private and the
state controlled firms would like to see their
stakes continue after the commercial route
becomes operational. Moreover, in this regard,
lenders would also make sure that the loans
returns and the revenues generated through
other mostly energy projects do not entirely
go to Pakistan; rather, part of it should come
back to China which puts Islamabads interests
at stake.

The negotiations in this regard have been

conducted poorly by Islamabad. Recently, the
IMF in its evaluation of the CPECs repayment
procedure warned that Outflow of revenues and
loans from Pakistan will also come in the form
of repayment obligations on the loans taken
from Chinese banks for these projects, which
are expected to rise after 2021. Both of these,
repayments and profit repatriation could reach
about 0.4 per cent of GDP per year over the
longer run.

Moreover, the explicit danger and dilemma that

seems to be shaping in the CPECs wake is
Pakistans continuous dependence on foreign
loans which have historically remained a major
hurdle in the countrys successful independent
economic development. Besides Chinese
investments, apparently, Pakistans leadership
doesnt have any viable major economic plan to
shape the countrys economic future. Instead of
diversifying Pakistans economy and
strengthening the existing indigenous economic
structures, the countrys political leadership has
engrossed itself in a new cycle of foreign
dependence with a difference that this time
money comes from the East rather than the
West. .

While the project promises to inject some

lifeline to the countrys collapsing economic
system, the question remains: why Pakistans
leadership always have to rely on foreign
initiatives and economic plans to ensure the
countrys survival and economic prosperity? For
China, Pakistans territory only fulfills its
regional and global economic plans while for
Pakistan, it only highlights the countrys reliance
on foreign economic agendas for its survival.
The romanticisation of China-Pakistan
friendship is nothing more than one way traffic,
where Pakistan continues to remain just another
countrys that absorbs and facilitates Beijings
export inflows.
Besides the abovementioned concerns, the
other challenges related to political and security
instability are likely to remain for the
foreseeable future. The unresolved issues
connected with unfair distribution of resources
under the CPEC still continue to figure once in a
while. So far, Beijing has intervened number of
times to express its concerns over such
disagreements. Pakistans smaller provinces
continue to lament over the economic corridors
Punjab favored orientation where the share of
projects in regions such as KPK and
Baluchistan have been minimised.

On security front, the challenge remains with

the volatile situation in Baluchistan. The military
has promised to assemble a special military
force to protect the CPEC route, but in the long
run, it doesnt reflect as a viable solution: The
corridor passes through what is currently the
heart of the insurgency, said the economic
adviser to Baluchistans Chief Minister recently
while adding that the notion that the special
military force can successfully protect the route
is laughable.

Moreover, while the Gawadar port is said to

become a future economic hub, the district,
which is the nucleus of the entire project,
remains a neglected area on its periphery. The
whole area has been captured by the
government with local people pushed aside,
said the areas local resident. Moreover, it likely
that such policy will further hinder the provinces
reconciliation efforts to bring back the so called
angry Baloch leaders, which have persistently
rebelled due to the states much debated policy
of alleged unfair treatment.

With all of its promises and episodic

celebrations, the project underscores Pakistans
policy failures that have remained stuck with the
countrys leadership as a stigma.
CPEC and the provinces

THE government finds itself battling on three

fronts. Civil-military relations are said to be at
their lowest ebb in years, a main opposition
party is gearing itself to lay siege to the
capital, and inter-provincial tensions over the
distribution of federal resources and CPEC
projects are escalating.

The first problem is recurring, and regardless

of what many think about it, is largely beyond
the control of this or any other civilian
government. The second battle, that with
Imran Khan on the other hand, is largely of the
governments own making. Seven months on
from the Panama Papers leaks, the PML-N
leadership has done little by way of finding a
diplomatic, workable solution to a political
problem. The PTIs mobilisation may or may
not be destabilising for the country, but in
whats often perceived as a winner-take-all
political sphere, one cant fault the opposition
for trying to carve out an opening for itself.
Just like everyone else in the vocation of
politics, Imran Khan wants to be prime
minister and hell do whatever it takes to
undermine the incumbents popularity.

The third battle that of CPECs distribution

appears to be the least pressing. Theres no
major ethnic mobilisation taking place, and
nationalist leaders in Balochistan and Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa are on relatively civil terms with
Nawaz Sharif. The PTI government in KP
speaks on the issue sporadically, but the party
leaderships Punjab-centric orientation makes it
a weak candidate to carry the regionalist flag.

The corridor is a centralising force in Pakistans

political system that places a lot of eggs in the
federal governments basket.
While the problem may seem the least
pressing at this point, it is one that reflects a
particularly deep, historical fracture in
Pakistan: centre-province or centre-ethnicity
relations. Any reasonable reading of Pakistans
history will tell you that infighting between
provincial elites and migrant leaders was the
main cause of political stasis in the first few
years after independence. It weakened the
civilian dispensation, undermined democracy,
and contributed to a centralised,
bureaucratised state apparatus that ultimately
fell into the hands of the military. The end
result was further centralisation, and the
exacerbation of regional disparities under Ayub
Khans regime, which led to the secession of
half the country.
The 18th Amendment has gone some way in
resolving the issue of a centralised, disparity-
exacerbating state at two levels. In the first
instance, a considerable amount of
administrative and fiscal autonomy does stand
devolved to the provinces. The effects of this
are partially visible: revenue authorities in
Punjab and Sindh are aggressively finding new
and hitherto untapped avenues for tax
farming. All four provincial governments have
set up energy companies to resolve the power
crisis. KP, in particular, is pursuing a range of
projects with multilateral and bilateral donors.
To their credit, political elites based in the
provinces are slowly learning to cope with
greater authority.

At a secondary level, the idea of an 18th

Amendment has a visible impact on the
countrys political culture. The fact that such a
constitutional amendment was passed by
consensus expands the idea of what is
democratically possible in the minds of
politicians and activists. Therefore,
discursively, the 18th Amendment goes some
way in fortifying faith in a federal system of

CPEC, however, is a game changer. This phrase

is commonly used in one banal sense: so much
investment coming in and Pakistan will surely
surge to middle-income status on its back. In a
slightly less obvious sense is the corridors
game-changing design. CPEC is a state-to-
state cooperation agreement. The
governments of Pakistan and China are the
ones deliberating over its modalities. At our
end, multi-party conferences and the
occasional chief ministerial-level meetings have
no de jure authority over the actual projects.
To put this in simpler terms, CPEC is a
centralising force in Pakistans political system
that places a lot of eggs in the federal
governments basket.

Part of the problem is because of how the civil

and military leaderships have built up the
almost heroic status of the corridor. Every
statement by the national leadership harbours
the country at the port of CPEC and all future
possibility now appears to stem from Chinese
money. Given this hyperbolic atmosphere, it is
only logical that activists whove built their
political careers over the rights of particular
regions and ethnic groups would become extra
aware of the possibility of missing out. The
deep mistrust of centralising economic and
political power, which has developed over the
last seven decades, rears its head once again.

Some of the heightened concerns of provincial

activists are fully justified. There is the
uncertain fate of the western corridor, which on
paper promised connectivity for regions
languishing on Pakistans economic periphery.
There is also the issue of a number of projects
based in Gwadar that are often packaged as
Balochistans share. Gwadar is, in practice, a
federalised and increasingly globalised area. Its
day-to-day control rests with the military and
the Chinese companies operating its port. In
most ways, it promises little and contributes
nothing to the rest of the province.

While the Chinese embassy issues placating

press statements, managing inter-provincial
concerns and perceptions is not their job. It is
the job of the federal government, which
represents a province that is rightly or wrongly
seen as the countrys local chauvinist. To this
end, it has not done a very good job. Perhaps
the biggest reason for this is because it has no
incentive to do it. The Chinese are comfortable
with the current design, and the ruling partys
own electoral incentives are centred in Punjab
and thus require little to no consideration of
other regions. As far as one can see, Nawaz
Sharif does not hate other provinces or
ethnicities. He just doesnt have any reason to
be magnanimous or considerate. CPEC may
very well be an economic game changer, but
there are increasing signs that, in this process,
it will also unmask some very troubling political

The writer is a freelance columnist.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2016

CPEC: no squabbles please

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has

been a most welcome development. As clichs
go, this is a game-changer, probably; a gear
changer, possibly! The issue with changing
gears is that one could just as well decrease
speed as increase it. To avoid slowing down, I
wish to discuss three components of the CPEC
the highways/motorways, the railways and
water storages.

The highest priority in the road sector is, and

should remain, the Lahore-Multan-Sukkur-
Karachi motorway since it carries the greatest
load both for passengers and for freight. The
area on the eastern bank of the river Indus
comprises 70 percent of the countrys
population, 80 percent of the agriculture
output, 90 percent of the industry (including
Karachi) and nearly 100 percent of the exports.
As such no other road section is a substitute
for the eastern motorway.

The DI Khan-Zhob-Quetta-Gwadar section is

important no doubt and a four-lane highway
for the next few years should suffice to its
needs after which it could graduate to a
motorway. It would take that long for the
Gwadar Port to handle the increased freight.
The region is mountainous and passes through
the Sherani tribal areas, presenting some
engineering and other challenges. This road is
under construction currently but would require
generous funding for quick completion.

There is also the pressing need under the CPEC

for widening and improving the Indus highway
between Peshawar and Karachi on the right
bank of the river as this reduces the distance
by nearly 300 kilometres between the north
and the port. The construction of the Burhan-
DIKhan section leading southwards would be a

These days one hears the demand for

establishing industrial estates along the
motorways for quick industrialisation. It is
important to remember that merely
establishing industrial estates near motorways
does not result in developing industry. Were
that so Kohat, Bannu, Swat and DI Khan would
have been industrial hubs by now since estates
were set up there 30 years back. One requires
incentives like subsidised electricity, lower tax
and duty regimes and a secure environment to
encourage industrialists to invest. Industry was
wooed to Amangarh-Nowshera in the early
fifties and to Gadoon-Amazai forty years later,
by generous incentives alone. When these
were withdrawn or whittled down, industry
walked away.
Today, nearly 80 percent of the units
established in Gadoon are either closed or have
moved out. The governments, both federal and
provincial, should provide Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
and Balochistan greater financial incentives to
bring them a par with the other parts of the
country. In the case of KP, the provincial
development strategy since long was based on
providing the incentive of lower power tariff.
This ought to be actualised by quickly
completing the hydropower plants initiated by
the previous ANP government and building
additional larger ones.

For the provincial government to focus on tiny

publicity-gaining, micro hydel-power toys
plants will not help and certainly not with
foreign loans of $300 million. It would be
advisable for the Asian Development Bank to
allocate this amount for larger hydel projects in
KP and Fata. The projects selected must be
sustainable. Why generate only 35MW with this
amount when one could use it as full equity for
the Munda-Mohmand dams 800MW project?
Elementary economics, Dr Watson!

As for the railways, a massive $8.5 billion is

being expended under the CPEC for doubling
and modernising the Peshawar-Karachi main
line. This should reduce travel time by nearly
half, benefitting local and foreign commerce. It
is now important that the initial feasibility
study conducted by Pakistan Railways in 2006
for the rail line from Peshawar to Gwadar be
converted into a detailed design and
engineering document. This line would truly be
an all-Pakistan link as it would traverse
Kashmore-Khuzdar-Pangur-Gwadar. It should
be funded through CPEC Phase Two.

We should remember that the Karachi-Lahore

railway line was initiated in 1868 and a
hundred and fifty years later the western
provinces need to be extended this advantage
too. The kernel of economic development lies
within rails.

This brings me to the third item relating to the

development of additional water storages in
the country. Two projects rank very high the
Diamir-Bhasha and the Munda-Mohmand
dams. The former would store 8.1 million acre
feet of water, add 4500MW power capacity and
provide revenues of over $4 billion annually
even without the economic multiplier factored
in. The Munda-Mohmand dam on River Swat in
the tribal areas would save Peshawar valley
from recurrent floods and generate electric
power worth Rs20 billion each year. The return
on equity would be over $70 million annually
to the state on the latter project.

What could be greater game-changers? Both

need to be developed in the public sector with
Chinese and the Asian Infrastructure
Investment Banks assistance. European
manufacturers of electric turbines and
generators have also offered financing for such
equipment, which should be availed because of
their superior efficiency and durability. In the
meanwhile, every years delay adds about half
a billion dollars to their total cost.

Fortunately, there is hope. The federal

government has allocated the entire amount
required for the land acquisition of the Diamir-
Bhasha dam while Governor KP Iqbal Jhagra
and Wapda both appear keen on constructing
the Munda-Mohmand dam. So no squabbles
please. To end with another clich: time is of
the essence.

The writer has served as chief secretary of GB,

AJK, KP and Sindh.

Source: CPEC: no squabbles please

China and CPEC implementation

By Mian Sanaullah
The Chinese government is concerned whether
projects related to the CPEC will ever be
completed in the wake of a growing security
threat to Chinese workers and the international
difficulties faced by Pakistan. In order to
convert existing challenges into opportunities,
the Chinese government has activated its
state-run think tanks to understand the
undercurrents impeding consensus between
the provincial and federal governments in

As part of this campaign, two Pak-China think

tank seminars were held, one each in
Islamabad and Beijing, in September.
Policymakers from both countries deliberated
on the opportunities and challenges of the

Convinced about the win-win dimension of the

CPEC for both countries, the Chinese have
become sensitive about any valid or invalid
criticism of the CPEC in our smaller provinces.
They are reluctant to assume that the criticism
in KP and Baltistan aims more at expanding
economic benefits for these regions than
targeting the CPEC per se. They are taking the
political rhetoric and dynamics in the provincial
capitals too seriously. Routine bureaucratic
delays and inefficiencies are being seen as a
calculated move to block the CPECs early
harvest projects.

Their other biggest worry is the concern about

security cover for Chinese workers. They quote
how many Chinese workers have been killed,
kidnapped or fired at in Balochistan and Sindh
in the last three years. They worry that the
security situation is likely to deteriorate further.
Three factors in their view are not to be
ignored in this context: a) the Afghan Taliban
are surging in Afghanistan and, therefore, may
feel embolden to carry out violent acts in
Pakistan; b) India has been providing funds for
destabilising Balochistan and no respite is in
the offing; and c) American global agenda to
prop up India against Pakistan and China will
not falter any soon. The net outcome is likely
to exacerbate insecurity, not ruling out
barbaric violent incidence.

While both sides recalled their strategic

partnership in all sorts of fancy clichs, they
also noted that misstating the CPEC as a
strategic project risked raising false
expectations, especially in Pakistan. Normally
China does not publically question official
statements of Pakistan. It was a bit distressing
when they quizzed the figure of $46 billion
investment in the CPEC. According to them,
only $13.9 billion have been invested so far in
multiple projects. There is no guarantee that
the remaining $32 billion will be invested in the
CPEC. At best, the oft-quoted figure is an
estimate and its spending is subject to
foolproof security cover for the Chinese in

Surprisingly, the Chinese side underplayed the

importance of the Gwadar Port for China in
terms of accessing oil and other commodities.
It was vehemently contested by them that the
Malacca Strait would never be blocked and in
any case, China currently imports only seven
percent of its oil from abroad. Other points
made by the Chinese policymakers included
possible army control of the implementation
authority for the CPEC to be set up in Pakistan
at their advice and better relations with
Afghanistan as a must for link-up with the
Central Asian Republics.

It was worrisome to note that the Chinese

policymakers did not feel confident about
Pakistans ability to protect their citizens. On
the other hand, the Pakistani side made it clear
that the CPEC enjoyed support across all
political parties among Pakistanis.
Nevertheless, the umbrella project should be
seen generating employment and establishing
economic zones, not becoming a conduit for
trading Chinese goods and commodities only.
It was hoped that the Chinese state companies
would use the experience learnt by them in
Africa and in the Kyrgyz and Kazakhstan
republics to recruit Pakistani engineers and
technicians in line with their qualifications.
Projects should benefit wider sections of
population, beyond the political and business

Further, it was pointed out that the strength of

bilateral ties comes from mutual strategic
interests, tested interdependency in moments
of despair, mutual willingness to transform
relations to meet new and emerging challenges
and unstinting public support in both countries
for each other at regional and international
levels. For commonality of interests and
mutual respect, any change in government or
leadership in either of the two countries, or the
demise of the cold war era and its associated
alliances or subsequent readjustments should
not affect their relationship.

I pointed out in Beijing that the CPEC is

unlikely to have smooth sailing due to the
complexity of securing the Gwadar-Kashgar
corridor and the differences among provincial
governments on the composition of the
package under the CPEC. A number of power
projects under the CPEC have already hit
snags. Some have been abandoned and some
are moving very slow. With Afghanistan
turning hostile and Iran cold towards Pakistan,
the CPEC may face difficulties.

China will not change its current policy to

support the CPEC as a priority pilot project of
the One belt, One road vision of its president,
but the increased cost of security for the
corridor is likely to weigh heavily on the
Chinese leadership while moving beyond the
early harvest projects. Both Pakistan and China
should be ready to brace themselves for
potential setbacks and come up with matching
resilience to stay the course.

Some of the points gained from the Beijing

Seminar were:

The unfailing bilateral commitment and

determination to the CPEC and the results of
the early harvest projects serve as catalysts to
remove the political misgivings and
bureaucratic inefficiencies confronting the
CPEC in KP, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Pakistans security situation is still precarious

despite the success of anti-terrorism
operations. Foolproof security cannot be
ensured due to the continuing Afghan
imbroglio and the unending hostile Indian
interventionist policy.

Domestic power politics is not directed

against the CPEC. It is all about maximising
gains for regions in order to promote the
electability factor of the party concerned. No
sabotage of the CPEC is on the card in

Chinese worries about Pakistans isolation

and its impact on the CPEC are exaggerated.
Pakistan cannot be isolated by India beyond a
limit. India has overplayed its hostility card and
was snubbed by China and Russia at the Brics
summit. However, Pakistan may encounter
another combined onslaught from India and
the US against the CPEC, declaring it a
strategic alliance rather than economic with
some strategic content in order to isolate

India is opposed to Chinese presence in the

Indian Ocean. It will certainly treat the
presence of the Chinese navy at Gwadar as an
assault on its exclusive right to be the primary
force in the Indian Ocean. Pakistan is prepared
to deal with this new dimension of China-
Pakistan friendship. However, pitted against
India, Pakistan will be ignored by the
international community.

China and Pakistans friendship has withstood

hostility from powerful quarters for the past 65
years. The economic transformation of their
relationship will move ahead, albeit not without
hurdles. However, perceptions, rhetoric,
ground realities and results of early harvest
projects (PRGRR) will greatly determine
whether the CPEC can further Sino-Pakistan

The writer is a former ambassador, political

analyst and Advisor to CRSS, an independent
think tank.
To succeed,look at things not as they are,but
as they can be.:)

The giddy brigade


The kind of childish enthusiasm that is growing

around the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
(CPEC) needs to be tempered with a little dose
of reality. The project is a good one, but people
really need to understand that it is a very long-
term proposition, not something that is about
to start happening within a few years.
Take a couple of examples from the recent
past. A few days ago, reports began circulating
that Russia had asked to join CPEC and had
been granted permission by the Pakistani
government. This sounded odd to me,
considering the land route to Gwadar port is
hardly economically viable for Russia given the
enormous distances.

The reports claimed that a senior official from

the Russian Intelligence Agency (which one?)
was on a visit to Pakistan and engaged in
secret negotiations and met with military
high ups. During this visit, he reportedly
expressed an interest for his country to join
CPEC, and the request was quickly granted.

What exactly does joining CPEC mean? Use of

the port? Use of the roads to drive cargo to the
A closer look at the reports revealed something
odd. None of them had a clearly identifiable
source, not even unofficial statements given off
the record, which are traditionally put in
quotes when being reported without
attribution. Moreover, it didnt appear right at
all. What does joining CPEC really mean?
Access to the roads and port? If so, an
intelligence official will not be the conduit for
such a request. Use of Gwadar port for
refuelling and stocking up on supplies for
Russian ships, whether military or civilian?
Perhaps, but Gwadar is so far away from
having that kind of infrastructure that it would
make more sense to talk about using Karachi
for that sort of operation for the time being.

And in any case, this is not how those kind of

talks are held, in secret, between officials from
the Russian Intelligence Agency and the
military. There are formal channels for such

The rumours became intense as they were

picked up by TV channels, citing anonymous
officials, and sparked some heavy-duty
analysis, including from the Indian side, where
a former diplomat actually wrote a lengthy
column weaving a fantastic scenario around
the development. Geopolitical minds were
spinning like the wheels of a bullet train,
imagining a giant bloc including China,
Pakistan and Russia arrayed against India and
America simultaneously. Im always amazed at
the speed with which people conjure up
geopolitical scenarios of this sort in this

Then came the denial to stop the party before

things really got out of hand. Moscow is not
discussing the possibility of joining the China-
Pakistan Economic Corridor project with
Islamabad, the foreign affairs ministry in
Russia tweeted, adding that Pakistani media
reports about secret negotiations between
Russia and Pakistan on the implementation of
projects as part of the China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor are not true to the facts.

But some amount of damage had already been

done. The tale had grown with the telling, with
reports appearing that France wanted to join,
that Boris Johnson had alluded to Britains
interest in becoming a part, that Turkmenistan
wanted in.

Ask yourself a simple question: what exactly

does joining CPEC mean? Use of the port? Use
of the roads to drive cargo to the port?
Contracts for construction of the
infrastructure? Refuelling rights at Gwadar?
None of the reports cared for these details. A
simple runaway list of one country after
another lining up to join CPEC was presented
as some sort of game-changing moment that is
about to alter the course of Pakistans history.

I often end up playing the role of spoiler in

such giddy moments, and then get accused of
being a RAW agent, a traitor, a sell-out and
every other accusation that people habitually
toss at those who hold views different from
their own. So let me run that risk one more
time. CPEC is a good thing for Pakistan, but as
a road project alone, it is not viable for long-
distance trade at the moment.

It connects the economy of Pakistan with the

economy of Xinjiang province in China, not the
total economy of China because most of that is
located on the East coast where there are
already multiple sea ports available for a
fraction of the cost of overland freight.

So how large is the economy of Xinjiang?

Answer: $150 billion. Meaning, the project is
actually connecting us with an economy that is
smaller than our own. I see no sense in the
argument that Chinese oil imports could be
diverted through Gwadar. Overland cost of
transporting oil is multiple times what the sea
cost is, and the province of Xinjiang is already
surplus in oil, meaning they are not likely to be
importing oil through Gwadar, only to transport
it overland, across a 16,000-foot mountain

As a strategic proposition, there may yet be

more merit to CPEC, but as a commercial
proposition, the trade possibilities it is opening
up will be decades before they become viable
and grow to any appreciable volume. The
project should be pursued, but the giddiness
needs to be tempered and a more realistic
approach is necessary.

I read with sadness the statement by our

railway minister that when he asked the
Chinese about a bullet train for Pakistan as
part of CPEC, they laughed at us. I believe
there is some amount of snickering in Moscow,
London and Paris as well about the reports
weve been reading lately.
We are approaching the project more as a
customer with a credit card in a shopping mall
rather than a country with a policy direction
and vision of where it wants to go over the
next 25 years. If urging a little maturity in our
thinking about projects of national importance
makes me an agent of foreign powers in the
minds of the giddy brigade, then so be it.

The writer is a member of staff.

Published in Dawn December 1st, 2016

Importance of Pak-China
economic corridor
CPEC: china-Pakistan economic corridor is the
very important and joint venture of Pakistan and
china. This is known fact that paradigm of power
has been shifting towards east from west. Now
world will no longer remain uni-polar, soon it would
become bipolar, due to coming forth soft economic
CPEC is the part of china's new vision one belt one
road, and this is its Sothern corridor of Silk Road

Though china is the new emerging power in world

yet India and United States have left no stone
unturned to detract Pakistan from joining to this
new venture of china. It is obvious thing India does
not want to see strong Sino-power in Asia as like
USA. Therefore both of these countries are using
their utmost efforts to restrain the project because
the success of this venture will undermine the
power of India besides Japan which is the prime
ally and partner of USA to many folds.

Due to this reason importance of CPEC is beyond

the imagination, Gawader to kashgar route will not
only decrease the distance between china and
Middle East but will also provide safe and secure
way of oil to china. As Gawadar is locating at the
fore front of Strait of Hormuz which is the passage
way of $40 trillion trade in a year, moreover it will
decrease the shipping cost of china to Middle East
and African countries to great extent. For that
reason, Chinese government is investing $46
billion in this project. Basically CPEC is the name
of multiple roads of one corridor: in Pakistan there
are three major alignments having multiple roads
are the part of this project, western alignment,
eastern and central alignment all of these three
alignments will be connected through highways
and motor ways. However, western alignment is
more important rather than others because it will
open the door of prosperity and development in
Baluchistan and KPK, because Chinese investors
will establish their manufacturing units on this
route, which will increase the opportunity of
employment in these remote areas.

This is the reason that why foes of Pakistan and

china are conspiring against the project; ongoing
deficit of the trust about CPEC in Pakistan is also
the result of these conspiracies. All over the world
big powers have keen eye on this project, and for
that Chinese president Xi Jing ping wants to
complete this project as fast as possible. According
to Andrew small, the author of the China-Pakistan
axis: CPEC will be test case for one belt one road,
it is pretty much the most advance set of project
within the whole initiative. "If china can transform a
basket case like Pakistan, a place where United
States has spent billions in vain, Beijing standing in
the developing world will be massively enhanced.
As some American diplomats have said, this could
be Beijing's Marshall Fund movement".

The major reality is that china is going to invest in

Pakistan's history's ever biggest FDI in Pakistan,
the country which is facing economic uncertainty
since 1970's. Therefore Fabian tactics are required
to carry on the project and to counter with the
Machiavellian strategy of competitors. Therefore it
is high time to join the hand of government for the
sake of country's development and for the sake of
nation's prosperity.

Written by: Nusrat Yaqoob

CPEC Corridor of uncertainty

Andrew Small
Updated Feb 10, 2016 02:00pm
t the beginning of 2015, the focus of

debate over the China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor (CPEC) was whether it would go
ahead at all. The history of economic
relations between China and Pakistan had
been routinely disappointing. Xi Jinping,
the Chinese president, kept putting off his
visit to Islamabad. The fantastical dollar
figures being thrown around by the
Pakistani government seemed to be plucked
from thin air. Even after Xi finally showed
up in April 2015, the global reaction to the
announcements of 46 billion dollars worth
of projects was one of pervasive scepticism.
We had seen these large numbers being
announced before, with very little of it
translating into action on ground.
Yet, moving into 2016, while many
questions and doubts remain, these are now
more concerned with how rather than if
the CPEC will happen. What are the debt
implications for the Pakistani economy?
Will Punjab be the disproportionate
beneficiary? What will be the local impact
of the projects? Which route will be
completed first? Does the government have
the capacity to build a set of projects on as
grand a scale as the CPEC includes?

Even when there are no ready answers to

these questions, the very fact that these are
being asked reflects a genuine step forward.
The political battles around the CPEC are
an indication of the fact that there is
actually something to fight over. These are
far preferable problems to wrestle with than
the persistently weak levels of Chinese
investment in the past. There is a tangible
push to get the first round of projects
completed in the next two years roads,
power plants, port development and special
economic zones to demonstrate
meaningful progress by the time the next
Pakistani elections become due in 2018.

But the challenges that these plans face are

formidable, and hang over not just the
CPEC, but the entire One Belt, One Road
Silk Road initiative of which the corridor
forms a part. If China simply attempts to
externalise the development model that it
has pursued domestically, it may leave
some valuable infrastructure behind but it
will also create a set of political pressures
that risk undermining much of the purpose
of the venture.

The first issue is transparency. The opaque

fashion in which many of the projects are
being pursued may be viable for a few
billion dollars worth of investment but it is
not tenable on the huge scale envisaged by
the CPEC. When Pakistans central bank
governor publicly states that he does not
understand the composition of financing for
the projects, we have a real problem.
Routine accusations that one route or
another for the corridor is being favoured
are easy to make when it is so difficult to
figure out what is really going on. While no
one expects the details of every deal to be
made public, greater clarity on routes,
timetables and figures would do much to
allay these concerns.

The second issue is social impact. China

hopes that all these new investments will
have a politically stabilising effect in its
western neighbourhood. But without
serious efforts to ensure demonstrable local
benefits, the danger is that the influx of
investment will exacerbate existing
political and social grievances and divisions
rather than reducing them. For the CPEC,
this risk is perhaps most obvious in
Balochistan, though the planning for the
scheme as a whole has not given
sufficiently prominent attention to issues
ranging from job creation to education and
training. Even if a national-level political
consensus has been built behind the CPEC,
community buy-in and sustained support at
the grass-roots level will be equally
important. Again, this is hardly an insoluble
problem. Diverting even a small fraction of
the CPEC financing towards local schools
and hospitals, and coming up with
projected employment figures that are as
striking as the overall investment numbers,
will go a long way in addressing this.
Yet, Chinese officials still lack the instinct
to take measures of this sort. Transparency
and social impact have not tended to rank
high on the list of priorities in China. At
present, Beijing is trying to do a lot, very
quickly. While there is good reason for
Islamabad to prioritise speedy project
delivery, ensuring that Beijing gets the
underlying politics of the economic
corridor right too will save Pakistan, China
and many other countries along the putative
Silk Road from a lot of future headaches.

Pakistans point-man for China-Pakistan

Economic Corridor (CPEC), Ahsan Iqbal, just
concluded an exhaustive visit to Moscow. What
would have been the point of a sojourn if there
was no talk about the corridor and access to the
warm waters of the Arabian Sea? A fortnight
ago, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the
Global Conference on Sustainable Transport in
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Islamabad not only
offered its land route to landlocked Central
Asian states but also extended the olive branch
to Russia. Moscow tried a different strategy to
reach the warm waters of the Arabian Sea for
three decades, but spectacularly failed courtesy
the Afghans and Pakistan.

Russian foreign ministry denied any

negotiations with Pakistan on joining the China-
sponsored corridor to the Arabian Sea via the
Gwadar port. The federal ministers visit 10
days later offered a blunt rejoinder.On its part,
the Central Asia Regional Economic
Cooperation member state showed its
willingness to work with Russia, thus the
meeting with Maksim Sokolov, the Russian
transport minister.

Turbulent ties

Islamabad and Moscow first interacted on the

fringes of the UN General Assembly meeting on
May 1, 1948, when Foreign Minister Sir
Zafarullah Khan met his counterpart. Zulfiqar Ali
Bhutto aspired to create a better bargain for
Pakistan by wooing Russia, when he first
visited the country in 1960 as Minister of Fuel
Power and Natural Resources. Later, he
remained actively engaged with Moscow as a
foreign minister as well. The engagement
eventually led to post-1965 war Tashkent
Declaration. Kremlin backed Delhi outrightly as
it sponsored Bengali secessionist militancy in
1971. Despite this, the controversial populist
leader visited Moscow in 1972 as premier.
Later, Russia launched a proxy war against
Pakistan after it sided with the Afghan
resistance against its military intervention as
well as the capitalist bloc.

Following his fathers footstep, Premier Benazir

Bhutto tried to warm relations with Russia in
1994-1995. However, political infighting at
home and Moscows annoyance over the rise of
Taliban factored in adversely. Just months prior
to the coup, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited
Russia in 1999. But General Musharraf pressed
reset on almost everything the Nawaz
government was pursuing, and ties with Russia
were no exception.

Since Musharrafs Russia visit in 2003, relations

have steadily improved without considerable
turbulence. While almost every Pakistan
president or premier has visited Moscow since,
none were reciprocated at the same level.

In 2015, commandoes from both sides held

war-games, while their navies conducted a joint
exercise in the northern Arabian Sea. These
increasing comfort levels are leading the two
nations to previously unchartered waters, the
most notable being the sale of MiG-29s
engines, RD-33, for en masse production and
likely export of JF-17 Thunder.

The move was preceded by a deal to buy

Russian Mil Mi-35 gunships and electronic
warfare equipment. Besides inducting initial
deliveries of four rotary-wing aircrafts,
Islamabad may order another 16 subject to the
platforms performance and budgetary

Partnership for mutual benefit

Russias prime interest in Pakistan has been

investment in the energy sector, symbolised by
financing of the 850km North-South (Lahore-
Karachi) pipeline to securing investment in the
Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. And it remains to be
seen if Moscow agrees to invest in the Thar
coal field.

If the overview of complicated bilateral relations

can be any guide, both the countries are
steadily developing ties but are still far from
becoming strategic and economic partners.
Russias defense cooperation with India is at a
far advanced level, which for now remains un-
deterred by Delhis advances to Washington.
Of late, Moscow has not shared Indias
hardened position against Pakistan, may it be
the BRICS summit in Goa or Heart of Asia
conference in Amritsar. Islamabads recent
abstention on the UN resolution regarding Syria
was also an effort to stay out of the Pandoras

The offer to join CPEC is too enticing for Russia

to out-rightly reject. Its energy projects, such as
the pipeline network, may eventually culminate
in Russian oil being shipped to the east and the
west from Gwadar port. Even if Kremlin may not
benefit from the CPEC in the short term, it wont
back Indias rhetoric against the logistical

Special force set up to guard Gwadar ports sea lanes

REPORTER UPDATED Dec 12, 2016 07:42am




ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Navy has assembled Task
Force-88 (TF-88) for the seaward security of
Gwadar port and protection of associated sea lanes
against both conventional and non-traditional
The creation of the special maritime force had been
necessitated by the operationalisation of China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor, which is expected to lead to a surge
in maritime activity at Gwadar the nodal point for
CPEC and the sea lanes. This has in turn increased
the maritime susceptibilities there.
A senior PN official said the TF-88 would comprise
ships, Fast Attack Craft, aircraft, drones (unmanned
aerial vehicles), and surveillance assets. Additionally,
marines would be deployed at sea and around Gwadar
for security operations.
The task force would be a force multiplier for overall
security of CPEC. The land route has already been
secured by Special Security Division and now Gwadar,
the centrepiece of CPEC, will also be safe and secure,
Chairman Parliamentary Committee on CPEC Senator
Mushahid Hussain said.
TF-88 would be commissioned this week.
Pakistan Navy is ensuring maritime security of CPEC
and Gwadar port through the deployment of available
assets, the navy officer said while talking to Dawn
about the new force. We are fully cognisant of the
challenges to security of CPEC and Gwadar port. Chal-
lenges to Pakistans maritime security have traditionally
come from India. But Chinese involvement in Gwadar
port and launch of CPEC has complicated the security
environment. India sees Gwadar as a foothold for China
in the Arabian Sea and as a counter-strategy to threats at
Malacca. Therefore, India is alleged to have stepped up
its activities in the broader region surrounding Gwadar
to undermine the project.
The botched attempt by an Indian submarine to intrude
into Pakistani waters when shipping activity under
CPEC began at Gwadar last month has been pointed out
by Pakistani observers as an indicator of Indian
Similarly, it is feared that the CPEC maritime traffic
may face non-traditional threats, which include maritime
terrorism, drugs and arms trafficking, human smuggling
and piracy. The region is already grappling with most of
these problems.
Presence of extra-regional forces and their interests,
which could be threatened by the new port, heavily
factored in the consideration of Pakistani strategists,
who developed threat perception and strategised the
The complex security scenario, it is said, increases risks
for the sea traffic because of which cost of insurance of
the cargo has gone up exponentially.
Security is undoubtedly a crucial factor for the success
of CPEC, but the Chinese government has been very
particular about it. Chinese officials have invariably
insisted in their interactions with Pakistani interlocutors
on provision of safe and secure environment for the
It should be recalled that the fourth Pak-China joint
naval exercise held in November, which was aimed at
promoting maritime security and stability in the region,
specifically focused on challenges to CPEC in security
domain. Navy has also raised a Coastal Security and
Harbour Defence Force for tackling threats along the
coast and stationed a Force Protection Battalion at
Gwadar for protection of Chinese workers.
Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2016

Foreign Policy
Challenges Confronting
Pakistan | Talat Masood
May 25, 2016 Opinion, Pakistan Leave a comment 766 Views

The ebb and flow of US-Pakistan relations have

historically been based on expediency and thus are
primarily transient in nature. They are once again
coming under serious strain due to the unfolding events
in Afghanistan, which highlight the great divergence
that exists regarding how to deal with the Afghan
Taliban and the Haqqani network. The release of Shakil
Afridi, who has been jailed for spying for the Americans
and clandestinely assisting US efforts in locating
Osama bin Laden, also remains a sore point. Pakistan
considers him a traitor whereas he is lauded by the
Americans for being a critical source in locating the
whereabouts of a global and most wanted terrorist. The
US also views the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
and Pakistans growing economic, defence and
strategic convergence with China suspiciously. The
strong Indian lobby in the US has been able to
successfully prejudice members of both houses of
Congress against Pakistan, which is creating hurdles to
the sale of F-16s and other military hardware. Pakistan
is also under pressure from the US to restrict the
development of intermediate-range missiles, stop or
reduce the production of fissile material as well as there
being concerns over other nuclear and military related

But when it relates to India, the US generally supports

or at best looks the other way at its burgeoning nuclear
and conventional weapons development. Indias
nuclear-armed and nuclear-propelled submarines have
brought about a transformational change in the
strategic landscape of the Indian Ocean. The plan to
deploy a functional ballistic missile defence system with
both low and high altitude interceptor missiles when it
materialises would be another significant breakthrough
with serious implications for Pakistan and the region. In
addition, the development of the high-energy laser
system, codenamed Kali, is a potential candidate for
future induction although it is still years away from
reaching the production phase. India takes advantage
of the potential threat from China to justify these
significant nuclear and conventional build-ups and
remain close to the US, but in essence these weapons
pose a greater threat to Pakistan. They could
downgrade Pakistans first and second strike
capabilities, bringing us even closer to China.
The differences with the US on our Afghan policy are
even more serious. The Pakistan military maintains that
we remain engaged and tolerate the Haqqanis and the
Taliban leadership because they are a reality and a
potent asymmetric force existing in our neighbourhood
with which we have to deal with. Furthermore, we are
fully engaged in fighting the TTP and other insurgents,
and cannot create more enemies. We also maintain
that we have only limited influence over the Afghan
Taliban and cannot push them any further. With US
satellites hovering over our territory, we cannot
convince the world that the insurgent leaders are in
Afghanistan if they happen to remain in hideouts in
Fata or Balochistan or even in Karachi. By making
claims that are contrary to facts, we are compromising
our credibility and end up being accused of
doublespeak. The drone attack in which Mullah
Mansoor was killed poses fresh problems not only for
Pakistan-Afghan, but also for Pakistan-US relations.
The recent revelation that Mansoor may have been
living in Karachi has deeply embarrassed our position
and is likely to provide our detractors reason to malign
us further. The main grievance of the Afghans is that
the Taliban leadership draws strength and sustenance
from being based in a protected environment in
Pakistan. Consequently, it cannot be trusted. As a quid
pro quo, they are playing the same game with us by
giving sanctuary to TTP leaders. The US, Iran and India
are more supportive and sympathetic towards the
Afghan position. Regrettably, the more the Afghan
government gets alienated from Pakistan, the greater it
leans towards India, preventing us further from taking
any decisive action against the Taliban. Thus Afghan-
Pakistan relations are caught in a vicious cycle and
have been unable to extricate from it. In this scenario,
the beneficiary has been the Taliban, which had
expanded their reach in several provinces of
Afghanistan, including Kunduz in the north and Herat in
the west.

Mullah Mansoors death will surely be a major setback

for the Taliban. It could lead to a power struggle and it
may be sometime before a new leadership emerges. If
the Taliban fragment, the Afghan government could
exploit this to their advantage. Experience, however,
shows that the Taliban have great resilience and can
bounce back with renewed zeal. The drone attacks also
demonstrates another aspect of the conflict, that the
Taliban will never be allowed to militarily overrun
Afghanistan as long as US and Nato support is
available. Some analysts who remain critical of US-
Afghan policy are of the view that Mansoors
assassination has sabotaged prospects for peace.
What they fail to recognise is that Mansoor and his
coterie were not inclined towards a peaceful settlement
at least in the near future.

For Pakistan, the current scenario throws up a fresh

challenge on dealing with the emerging Taliban
leadership and balancing this with Afghan and
American expectations. Unsurprisingly, our subdued
initial reaction both at the official and public levels could
be indicative that the goals of the Afghan Taliban are
not necessarily those of Pakistan itself and that we are
gradually trying to distance from them. Recent border
management issues also reinforce Pakistans policy.
Nothing would be better for both Afghanistan and
Pakistan than to resolve their differences peacefully
through direct negotiations in a sprit of give and take.
This should be the rational approach for winning mutual
confidence and reducing outside interference. In any
case, with regional and global pressures, this evolution
has to come sooner or later. The question here is how
those forces in Pakistan that saw the Afghan Taliban as
an asset and as a preferred means to protect our
interest in Afghanistan would perceive this evolution in
the future.

With these compelling foreign policy challenges, the

prime minister will be well advised to give priority to
appointing a full-time foreign minister. He should
activate the committee on national security and foreign
policy, benefit from consulting the cabinet and take
parliament into confidence on major foreign policy

Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2016.

Chabahar: Indian
Strategic Maneuvering |
Dr Muhammad Khan
May 23, 2016 Economy, Opinion, Pakistan, World Leave a
comment 998 Views
Sequel to signing of China Pakistan Economic Corridor
(CPEC) in April 2015, India fostered its drive for
completion of Iranian Port in Chabahar. The project
started in 2003, but lingered on and later owing to
international sanctions on Iran; India almost abandoned
it until 2013. In November 2013, Pakistan handed over
the Gwadar Port to Chinese Overseas Ports Holding
Company Ltd (COPHCL) for further development and
operationalisation. This development promoted India
and it started consulting Iranian officials to re-start the
construction of the port. Chabahar is located
approximately 150 km from the Pakistani deep-sea
port, Gwadar. In a way, its development by India was in
strategic competition of Gwadar.
In a bid to start construction of the Chabahar port, India
even ignored the US warnings, as Iran was still under
sanction over its nuclear programme until 2015. In
December 2013, Indian officials collaborated with
Iranian and Afghan officials for a trilateral trade and
transit agreement, with Chabahar Port as the pivot.
Indeed, after its failure to get a transit trade route via
Pakistan (New Delhi-Lahore-Kabul) India convinced
Afghan Government to reduce its dependence on
Pakistan by having an alternative route for its global
and regional trade.
After Indian lobbying, Kabul felt that, Chabahar Port
could be valuable destination to Afghan businessmen
to conduct their trade and commerce relations easily
without facing hurdles and that, the Chabahar Port has
major significance to Afghan businessmen as compare
to other ports. It is worth mentioning that, India worked
on this project much earlier and even constructed a
highway in Afghanistan. This Highway-DelaramZaranj
is also called, as Route 606, has 220 km length and
connects Delaram (border city of Afghanistan) to Zaranj
(Capital of Nimruz province of Afghanistan). Indian
Border Roads Organisation (BRO) of India has
constructed this highway at the cost of 100 USDs from
2005 to 2009. The highway will be connected with
Chabahar on one-side and Central Asian states on the
other side.
In fact, through Iranian port, Chabahar, India gets easy
access overland route to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
In Afghanistan, India has made investment in the field
of economy, security cooperation and social sectors to
have ingress and securing its strategic and economic
interests. Whereas, the CPEC impelled India to faster
completion of the Chabahar Port, it is widely
recognised that, India did play a key role in the
brokering of nuclear deal between Iran and US,
formally between P5 plus one and Iran. India has its
regional ambitions and US has its global agenda
including containment of China through India. Then U.S
is in the process of making new allies in the Middle
East. Indian strategic and economic compulsions suit
U.S and surely U.S compulsions best exploited by
India. Indeed, there are stakes and complementarities
of both countries at regional and global level. Today,
Iran has a clear leaning towards US and India, which
disturbed the traditional power balance in the Middle
East. The Saudi led GCC countries are upset over this
US shift. On its part, India is gained even in the Arab
monarchs apart from Iran. Precisely, one can say that,
India has been the net beneficiary of entire
developments in the larger Asian region and US has
been at its back throughout.
Indian Prime Minister is visiting Tehran next week and
is likely to sign a number of agreements and MoUs.
Among these, Chabahar Agreement will be an
agreement of strategic nature. During the visit of Indian
External Affairs Minister to Tehran early this month, it
was through debated at the level of foreign ministers.
This will be an agreement between Iran, India and
Afghanistan. Officials of these three countries have
now finalised the parameters of this trilateral
agreement; Chabahar Agreement. The agreement will
allow India access to Afghanistan via the strategically
located Iranian port of Chabahar, which sits on the Gulf
of Oman.
Upon signing of the agreement, Indian goods will reach
Afghanistan without having to pass through Pakistan.
New Delhi is optimistic that after this agreement and
finalisation of the Chabahar Port, there will be greater
regional connectivity and India will have a greater say
over Tehran and Kabul. Surely, through the
oprationalisation of Chabahar, India and other regional
countries will try down play the significance of Gwadar
port. India is otherwise promoted sub-nationalism and
terrorism in Balochistan to destabilize the Pakistan and
to create hurdles in the completion of CPEC, the
economic and strategic corridor for both Pakistan and
New Delhi is creating an impression that, Chabahar
Agreement will contribute to economic growth of
Afghanistan and facilitate better regional connectivity,
including between India and connections to Afghanistan
and central Asia. India is also likely to invest in the
construction of 1380 km railway-line connecting
Chabahar with Zahedan-and Mashhad. India will
provide $400 million of steel rails for this railway
linkage. Contours of the Chabahar Agreement were
conceived in 2013 and have been debated and
negotiated between Indian and Afghan officials.
Earlier, this agreement was also discussed and agreed
upon between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in December 2015.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has sought massive
Indian investment of $8 billion in the development of
infrastructure projects and wider economic
development and growth of Iran.
The Chabahar Agreement is an indirect Indian strategy
of isolating Pakistan; strategically and economically.
After the agreement Afghan trade and logistic through
Pakistan will reduce reasonably. Iran is otherwise more
biased towards India. Rather having an equation and
larger understanding between Pakistan, Iran and
Afghanistan, the emerging trends are anti-Pakistan. On
the part of Pakistan, there is no strategic planning
among its political elites, who largely protest their
corruption and ill-gotten wealth, rather the national
interests, the peoples mandate. Time is running out
and the national leadership must get back to its true
role and take measures for safeguarding the national
interest of Pakistan and in fact the future generation of
Pakistan, rather two families. The Chabahar Agreement
will seriously affect the implementation of CPEC and
Gwadar port operationalisation.
The writer is International Relations analyst based in

Gwadar: A Future
Economic Hub | Dr
Muhammad Khan
Owing to its strategic location and God gifted natural
resources, the Balochistan Province of Pakistan has
always been at the centre stage of regional and global
politics. The famous writer and geographer, Robert D.
Kaplan describes the province of Balochistan as, One
key to its fate is the future of Gwadar, a strategic port
whose development will either unlock the riches of
Central Asia, or plunge Pakistan into a savage, and
potentially terminal civil war.

Unfortunately, Pakistan could not unlock the riches of

the Central Asia and Caspian yet. However, it has
experiencing the wide spread instability and law and
order situation in the province of Balochistan, ever
since the developmental work on the Gwadar port
started in 2002. However, now, there is an
improvement in the law and order situation in
Balochistan and with the Chinese taking over the
Gwadar port in 2013, the full operationalisation of the
Port in near future, it is expected that, economic
activities will further enhance.

Since the Port is strategically located near the shipping

lanes (route), connecting three main continents; Asia,
Africa, and Europe, therefore, it has attained the status
of a key strategic and commercial port. Indeed, over
60% of global trade and transportation of oil tankers
takes place through the neighbouring waters of Straits
of Hormuz, the Gwadar port presents itself as the best
alternative and the storage port, as it can handle the
major ships and oil tankers. The 14.5-meter draft of
the port will be able to accommodate up to fifth-
generation ships, including Panamax and mother
vessels. Furthermore, the Gwadar deep-sea port has
the potential to remain operative throughout the year
and can handle large ships of carrying oil. Being a
junction between energy efficient and energy deficient
countries, it can facilitate both China and India, the
growing economies of Asia in connecting them with
energy rich Middle East and Central Asia. The China-
Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), connecting the
Gawadar with Kashgar has further enhanced the
strategic and economic significance of the Gwadar
CPEC is a project with immense economic and geo-
political potential. The plan has been referred to as a
watershed moment, not only for Pakistan, but also for
entire region, as it will change the geo-strategic and
geo-economic landscape of the region. However, it is
also feared that clashing geo-economic interests may
lead to undesirable competitions at regional and global
level. In view of perceived Sino-US competition and
latters efforts to entangle the former, the CPEC project
attains further geopolitical significance for the
stakeholders. Besides, there is a commonality of
interest between United States and India, particularly
against the rising global status of China. These
converging interests of a US and India is creating
security challenges for Pakistan and China. For
ensuring its security, Pakistan, there is a need for a
comprehensive security approach, employing all
elements of national power (EONP) to ensure its timely
Indeed, CPEC is an important regional component of
One Belt One Road initiative by China. Though
President Xi Jinping unveiled the concept of One Belt
one Road during his speech in Kazakhstan
(Nazarbayev University) on September 7, 2013,
however, the idea has rooted over the decades,
emanating from the economic development of China
and its desire for a strategic outreach to Europe and
Africa in addition to Asia. It is revival of historical Silk
Route, keeping in view the requirements of modern
means of communication and infrastructural demands.
The manifestation of One Belt one Road would be;
setting up of a geopolitical and geo-economic Silk
Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the 21st Century
Maritime Silk Road (MSR) connecting China to Europe
by land and sea. Enormity of Chinese economic
development and growth of highways and railroad
network propelled her to extend this to have a linkage
of hinterland with Europe, Africa and later with US apart
from Asian regions, starting from regional integration of

The arrest of Indian spying agent, Kulbashan Yadahav

has further confirmed that, how India, along with some
regional countries and major powers are involved in the
destabilisation of Pakistan and oppose the CPEC.
International actors, opposing the Port and CPEC have
directly or indirectly contributed towards the
destabilisation of the province of Balochistan. Local
Baloch population was provoked in the name of Baloch
sub-nationalism that the Federal Government is
compromising their rights over their own land. Upon
heavy funding by rivals of the port and particularly
India, some mislead elements of the Province even
acted as desired by the powers behind them.

Fortunately, over the past few years, there has been a

lot of change in the perception of the local Baloch
population. Gradually they are coming out of the
influence of India and other spying networks of the
regional and other major major powers. The Baloch
youth in particular have a realisation that it was a plot to
harm their interests and sabotage the Gwadar port.
Indeed, according to Resource Curse Theory
abstracted from the famous book, of Richard Auty,
Sustaining Development in Mineral Economies No
doubt, natural resources are desirable, yet, can distort
the economy to such a degree that the benefit actually
becomes a curse. This exactly has happening in
Balochistan province of Pakistan. Those eyeing on the
resources or are apprehensive of Pakistani gains have
been conspiring against the state of Pakistan at
regional and global level.

The Gwadar Port aimed to become, a regional and

global maritime hub. Domestically, the fundamental
factor behind the development of the port was to
stimulate the economic growth in the northern and
western parts of Pakistan. Regionally, the port provides
the shortest possible approach to Arabian Sea to
China, the landlocked Central Asian Republics and
Afghanistan for their transhipment facilities. However,
globally, it is the best alternative and a storage port,
owing to its potential to handle the major ships and oil
tankers. The Port will play a major role in the regional
economic development and prosperity. It is therefore
desired that, rather becoming rivals, India, and other
immediate neighbours of Pakistan should play a
positive role in the completion of CPEC and
operationalisation of the Gwadar Port. It indeed is a
win-win situation for all.

Raw Aims to Sabotage

CPEC | Ali Sukhanver
IT is yet not clear that the two recently arrested Indian
spies Saddam Hussain and Bachal are the accomplice
of Kul Bhushan Yadav or they all were working on their
assignments independently. The investigation teams
are busy with their work vigorously and it is hoped that
things would be clear soon. These two Indian agents
were arrested by the Counter Terrorism Department
from Thatta on April 16, 2016. According to the details
Saddam Hussain and Bachal were working in the guise
of fishermen in the area. The police have seized
photographs of sensitive installations from the
possession of these Indian spies.

Certainly the news of their arrest would not be very

much pleasing to the Indian authorities but for the
people of Pakistan this news is going to bring a new ray
of hope. A few weeks back, the law enforcement
agencies of Pakistan had arrested another RAW
operative Kul Bhushan Yadav from Balochistan, in
collaboration with the intelligence agencies. Instead of
giving Pakistan a helping hand in investigation, the
Indian authorities are still trying to disown the arrested
intelligence officer and it is being hoped that Saddam
Hussain and Bachal will also be treated in the same

Kul Bhushan Yadav is an officer of the Indian Armed

Forces. He joined the Indian National Defence
Academy in 1987 and was commissioned in the
engineering branch of Indian Navy in 1991. After an
attack on Parliament, he started gathering information
and intelligence within India. After 14 years of service
he was launched into intelligence operations in 2003
and ultimately as a part of the operation assigned to
him, he established a small business in Chabahar in
Iran. On March 3, 2016, he was arrested by the
security agencies of Pakistan near the border region of
Chaman. His crime was illegal entry into Pakistan via

Obviously after his arrest he had to pass through the

ordeal of investigation; and as everyone knows, this
process of investigation is nowhere in the world very
kind, smooth and gentle; investigation from a criminal is
however not something like conversation or table-talk.
But Kul Bhushan Yadav cooperated with the
investigation authorities whole-heartedly and honestly
because he knew it well that he had no other way out.
He told the investigators about all his heinous activities
that he had been involved in from Balochistan to the
Capital of Sindh Karachi. He had a lot of things to tell
about his plans of sabotaging the CPEC, destroying the
peace process in Balochistan and of snatching away
the peace and prosperity of Karachi.

The investigation authorities recorded the details of all

his precious activities in his own voice so that in future
he may not deny his own words. If you have watched
that video-film in which he has confessed his notorious
activities, you would have certainly noticed the peace,
calm, and poise on his face; and this type of
expressions indicates the inner truthfulness of a
person. That means whatever he was saying was true,
factual and accurate. Certainly he was inwardly
ashamed of his activities as a RAW agent. The
investigation authorities would have surely appreciated
his truthfulness as well as his repentance over
misdeeds. But we see in India, no one appreciated his
courage and boldness rather everyone denied any
relationship with him; in other words his people
deprived him of his identity as an Indian.

Just to detract and divert the attention of the people

from the actual issue, the stubborn Indian media
started a very comprehensive media campaign with the
help of its paid anchorpersons and the so-called
defence analysts. They all devoted their skills and
abilities on creating an air of confusion regarding the
time of arrest of Kul Bhushan Yadav and the originality
of his recorded statement ; some said he was arrested
earlier and some said the interview was a fake one.
The fact of the matter is that it is a great achievement
of security agencies of Pakistan that they succeeded in
getting hold of RAW trained agents like Kul Bhushan
Yadav, Saddam Hussain and Bachal. Now the ball is in
court of the legal authorities; hope that these terrorist in
guise of spies would not be treated with the same
kindness which Kashmir Singh had enjoyed in the past.

The writer is freelance columnist based in Multan.

Is The Western Route of

CPEC Dead? | Hurmat
Ali Shah
There was a ruckus; every one jumped on the
bandwagon. Political parties claiming to be defenders
of small provinces tied their chariots to the wagon and
joined in the symphony of a positive federation. The
ruling party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa came to its senses
albeit very late and for that matter for a very short time.
The leader of one ruling party in Balochistan took on a
mysterious silence while other leaders of his party took
to caring for his province rights. A few political
statements and a few stunts of activism here and there
and the political parties got tired. The ruling party at
federal government, PML (N), was however tenacious.
It started by outright denying any wrongdoing. Then
they caved in to somewhat mounting pressure and
admitted that there are two routes, but again lashed at
the critics for blaming them of playing into hands of
anti-state actors. Then came one trick after another
from their bag vilifying the critics, blaming them,
mocking them, unleashing the cronies in media, sugar-
coated threats and ploys meant to deceive.

What helped in sweeping the issue under the carpet? It

should not be forgotten that the attention this issue
received was the result of legitimate uproar created on
social media by civil society activists and on-ground
activism of intelligentsia of the smaller provinces.
Political parties were late and were in only for political
mileage or were dragged into it for the sake of face-
saving. But alas! Social media activism has its lifespan
and thats not very suitable for political movements,
which require continuous vigilance, unnerving
perseverance and intellectual capacity for debate and
opening up new options and avenues for exploration for
the sake of solving issues that have real-life
consequences on the lives of tens of millions of people.
Combine the peculiar nature of social media activism
with the warning from the Chief. Army Chief in a strong-
worded statement labelled the people demanding the
due constitutional share in development projects for
their provinces as detractors and enemies of the state
followed by his unflinching resolve to handle them the
way which is apt for such enemies of Pakistan.

Job done. Political parties had to cave in. Social media

and civil society organizations dont count for much and
dont stand a chance given the dual mammoth
challenges of fighting the tricks of jaguars of ruling PML
(N) and of a dissenting nod of the savior of the nation.
Political parties got what they were in it for face
saved. They can now helplessly complain that they
tried but the forces on the other side were too strong
and they are victims and will continue to fight for rights
of smaller provinces (but for some other issue, some
other time.) This can dismantle the trends on social
media other than a sporting event, a girl going crazy,
someone eating abnormally and other silly but
entertaining stuff. Political activism for a cause and
persistence in repeating the same old thing is boring
and who has got energy and willpower to listen to the
same old stuff and the tenacity to comment on and
share the same story every other day? Thats life on
the go, social media life demands new goals, new
targets each day. Successful completion of the
previous ones is not to be pondered upon.
But what I have said about social media is perhaps also
true for our political parties and our focus and
dedication to issues that affect us for generations.
Focus on political issues changes with the coverage in
media. The electronic and social media drive their
agenda. The discipline and will to fight a prolonged
battle for rights of common man is absent. Political
parties in Pakistan are not interested in taking issues at
grassroots level and mount the required pressure on
government to ensure safeguarding of rights of the

Western route of CPEC has also fallen victim to this

very psyche and circle of political activism in Pakistan.
In the given situation of Pakistan where civil society
organizations are weak, only political parties have the
capacity to take on such national issues and compel
the government to accommodate dissenting voices. But
the government was able to silence the opposition on
piecemeal projects in name of western route, the detail
of which I have presented previously. Those having
vested interest, or those who were in the campaign for
face-saving, may have got some consolation from
hollow promises of Ahsan Iqbal, but thinking minds in
small provinces are looking at these developments with
apprehension. A few civil society organizations are firm
in their stand and are not caving in despite lack of
interest from political parties in opposition and from the
ruling parties in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Looking at the surface it may seem that people of the

smaller provinces have forgotten about their due right
in CPEC, but winds may disappear for sometime only
to reappear with more power. The state of federation in
Pakistan is not a balanced one, and such blatant
disregard for rights and development of small provinces
will only add to inter-provincial distrust and further
weaken the federation. If western route of CPEC is part
of history, its repercussions are part of future. And a
future built on grievances and deprivations doesnt
bode well for the country. Its still time to address
grievances of smaller provinces and consider them
equal parts of the country and develop them at par with
the mainstream.


Energy Crisis | Editorial

has diverted its attention to the actual area of concern.
It has announced that out of the 46-billion dollar
Chinese investment under the China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC), a total of 36 billion dollars
will be spent exclusively on ending the shortfall of
electricity. It is a fact that an endemic energy crisis,
blamed on years of mismanagement, is crippling the
economy and making lives of millions of people
miserable. There is a gap in demand and supply. Our
power generation mostly relies on thermal power plants
that produce almost 65 percent electricity. But the cost
of this electricity is very high because thermal power
plants are run on furnace and diesel oil. Government is
working on a number of projects, including coal-based,
hydropower and solar, across the country with Chinese
assistance. It is long-awaited news that work is
underway on these energy projects. At the same time,
focus should be made on improving the existing power
infrastructure in the country.

So far the performance of the present government

seems worse in the energy sector compared to
previous regimes. Reportedly, Federal Minister for
Water and Power Khawaja Asif has confessed his
governments failure and inability to resolve the energy
crisis until 2018. Amid long hours of load-shedding,
there seems no end in sight to the crippling energy
woes. The PML-N government is busy making tall
claims about its performance in the energy sector,
however, there is a lack of clarity in these claims. When
the PML-N campaigned for the general elections 2013,
it made tall claims of ridding the nation of electricity
shortages within days, then weeks, then months. Later,
this was extended to six months, two years, and lastly,
till the end of its tenure. The energy crisis is the result
of the wrong policies of the Musharraf regime that did
not add a single megawatt of electricity in its nine-year
existence. The PML-N government has inherited the
crisis but the way it has been handling the situation,
there is no hope that the nation will hear any good
news any time soon. In fact the PML-N government has
completely failed to understand the severity of the
energy crisis and has been attempting to befool the
country with false claims. In this scenario, Khawaja Asif
deserves appreciation for having spoken the truth.
Instead of issuing contradictory statements,
government should present the real picture of the crisis.
It should realistically describe the extent of the crisis
and then present its strategy on how to deal with the
problem. Electricity crisis will not go away till
government comes up with a clear mind and strategy to
deal with the challenge. Long term planning and its
proper implementation are what the government has
failed to do. Instead of pursuing half-baked ideas and
projects, government should take stock of all the pros
and cons and roadblocks of every initiative.

Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/editorial/22-Mar-

The E in CPEC | Aadil

THE China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), once
completed, will become a major milestone in Pakistans
economic history. The road networks that will extend
from Gwadar to the Chinese border along with several
power projects, and infrastructure development
including export-processing and industrial zones, will
benefit the economy.
The Chinese governments intention is clear. It wants to
connect the western region of China to one of the
closest seaports, Gwadar, with an efficient
transportation network that provides easier access to a
major supplier of oil and other natural resources
necessary to develop its western regions. This strategy
is in accordance with the Western Development
Programmes introduced in the late 1990s to focus on
the industrial development of the western regions.
Gwadars proximity to the oil-rich and resource-
intensive Middle East will let Chinese importers
circumvent the alternative sea routes that involve
passage through several countries in the Indian Ocean
and the extensive land transport from its seaports in
eastern China. It is likely that several tons of natural
resources and industrial supplies will flow through

A viable industrial development strategy is a

prerequisite for economic growth. It is imperative that
strategies are evolved that involve appropriate
industrial policies as otherwise CPEC will just be a
transit route with no added benefits to Pakistan other
than providing a shorter transport link to China and its
trading partners.

Western China contributes to approximately 20pc of

economic activity and 30pc of the population of China.
As it is likely that CPEC will be a conduit primarily for
Chinese imports from the Gulf countries (classified as
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the
UAE) in the Middle East to western China, we need to
analyse the current demand for Chinese imports from
these countries.

We need a deal with China that

promotes value addition.
We can classify imports into primary products and
processed products according to UN Comtrades broad
economic categories. Primary products are likely to
have low levels of value addition and the manufacturing
process has only made a minor contribution to the
products value. For instance, crude oil is classified as
a primary product and petroleum oil as a processed

In 2014, China imported some $88 billion worth of fuel

and lubricant from the Gulf countries of which $76bn
was unprocessed primary imports. This suggests that
more than 85pc of the fuel and lubricants imported from
the Gulf by China was processed after being
transported to China.

On the other hand, Pakistan imported $13bn of fuel and

lubricants of which $5.6bn were unprocessed primary
products. Even if China is to import 5pc of its total
imports of unprocessed primary products from the Gulf
countries through CPEC, it will almost double the
current flow of such products into Pakistan. Similarly,
China imported approximately $17bn worth of industrial
supplies from the Gulf countries, which is significantly
greater than $2.4bn imported by Pakistan in 2014.

As a majority of the imports into China through CPEC

are likely to be natural resources and intermediary
industrial supplies, a focus on the development of
industries that rely on such products as their major
inputs can be developed. For instance, the inflow of
primary fuel and lubricant products can provide
opportunities for petroleum refineries, particularly in
Balochistan. Although, there are only a handful of
refineries in Pakistan, they are located either in or near
Karachi or in Punjab. The inflow of industrial supplies
into Pakistan, such as petrochemical intermediaries,
may provide opportunities for plastic manufacturers to
establish businesses along the route.

The government can negotiate a deal with its Chinese

counterparts that promotes value addition within Pakis-
tan. For example, initially a small percentage of all
primary fuel and lubricants imported into Gwadar by
China could be converted into processed goods within
Pakistan and then transported to China. This proportion
can be increased over the years. Similar policies can
be adopted for other industries, such as the
petrochemical industries, for which China depends
upon the imports of primary and processed products
from the Gulf countries.

It is important to mention that the free-trade agreement

between Pakistan and China in its current form is
unlikely to promote exports from Pakistan into China.
The trade balance is largely tilted towards China and
this is likely to grow as the Pakistani transporters to
China are likely to carry Chinese products on the return
journey. In addition, the exports from Pakistan to China
are currently heavily concentrated in cotton yarn, which
contributes to about 70pc of the exports from Pakistan
to China.
A strong industrial policy to complement CPEC is
essential, one that promotes the development of
strategic industries at specific locations within Pakistan.
Without appropriate industrial policies, CPEC may fail
to achieve positive outcomes for the Pakistani

CPEC: Symbol of
Regional Integration | Dr
Muhammad Khan
The concept of globalisation can well be defined as
global interconnectedness, which is achieved through
regional connectivity. The regional connectivity in turn
is achieved through the development of communication
network between two or more states and even within
the boundaries of a state. In summary, the essence of
globalisation is interconnectedness, achieved through
world-wide, Widening, deepening and speeding up of
communication. This entire process further integrates
the world on all three aspects; the political, economic
and social. Overall, the entire process can be
interpreted as the time and space compression, where
physical distances though remain same, but, squeesed
through the construction and development of
roads/highways, corridors and railways.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), though

conceived a decade earlier, but formalised into a treaty
in 2014 is one such project which would initially
promote interconnectedness between China and
Pakistan, but has the plans and potentials for regional
integration within South Asia and areas of Central and
West Asia. As per the British geographer, Halford John
Mackinder, who talked about the, heartlands and
geographic pivots in his famous article, The
Geographical Pivot of History, Pakistani geopolitical
position fits into the definition of geographic pivot,
connecting various regions of Asia, politically as well as

As part of Chinese One Belt, One Road strategy, the

CPEC, once fully constructed would integrate India,
Afghanistan, Central Asia and West Asia. Through
India, other states of South Asia will be direct and
indirect beneficiary of the CPEC. The economies of
these countries would be connected to the other region
of Asia and even with the global economy. This fact is
very much known to India, but, its enmity and rivalry
with Pakistan and China in the main factor, where it
opposes the concept of CPEC.

Indeed, the CPEC is not a new concept, rather a

continuation and expansion of the Karakorum Highway
(KKH), constructed in 1970s through 1980s by Pakistan
and China through difficult and very high altitude
terrain. It is the same KKH which will be expanded to
the level of corridor; the CPEC. Gilgit-Baltistan (GB),
which India considers is part of the disputed state of
Jammu and Kashmir has the right to develop and
economically grow. The CPEC will further enhance the
opportunities for the economic and socio-political
development of the GB and other areas, which so far
remained backward, somehow. Why should, India
oppose development of a community and area, just for
the reason that, it has illegally occupied a major portion
of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

If India is so much worried over its disputed status, then

it should come forward and resolve this dispute in the
light of UN resolutions and as pr the wishes of the
people of Kashmir. As a major regional country, India
should take initiative of resolution of issues and try to
promote regional integration. Otherwise, there is
dichotomy in the statements of Indian leaders. Indian
High Commission to Pakistan said that, India has no
worry over the construction of Pakistan-China
Economic Corridor as an economically strong Pakistan
would bring stability in the region. The India External
Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj said in statement that,
Government has seen reports with regard to China
and Pakistan being involved in infrastructure building
activities in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK),
including construction of China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor. Government has conveyed its concerns to
China about their activities in Pakistan Occupied
Kashmir, and asked them to cease such activities.

India needs to correct its perception on the regional

and bilateral issues through the prism of regional
integration and prosperity rather through the mindset of
rivalry and enmity. CPEC will boost the regional
integration and economic prosperity, the benefits of
which would be for all and India being a major economy
will be the major beneficiary. If India can ask for a
transit trade route for its economic linkages with Central
Asia through Afghanistan, and is a partner of the TAPI,
there should be no reason of India opposing the CPEC
through political statements and promoting the
terrorism along the route of CPEC. Pakistan otherwise
has raised a security division for the physical protection
of CPEC.

Apart from Indian, Iran should be made as one of the

stakeholder of the CPEC. There has been an economic
deal between China and Iran in January 2016. Since
Chinese 70% oil transportation is either from Iran or
other West Asian states and the African countries, all
passing through the Strait of Hormouz. The huge
hydrocarbons of Iran have their utility in the
economically progressing countries; China being the
biggest energy consumer and India being the second in
Asia. The IP gas pipeline has potentials to be further
extended to China and CPEC will be the best suited
route as energy corridor. Besides, Iran, the Central
Asian states have the huge potentials and reserves for
the contribution to sale in the international markets;
China and India being the most energy needy states.
Indeed, CPEC is a project, which would be the initiator
for the long-term regional integration, not between
Pakistan and China, but in South Asia and various
regions of Asia. This is possible only once the regional
states; energy deficient and energy efficient correctly
re-asses their future priorities. A well thought-out and
deliberated economic integration would pave the way
for a greater political integration and social prosperity; a
step towards resolution of issues and to bring an end to
the existing mistrust among the neighbours in wider

The writer is International Relations analyst based in


Source: http://pakobserver.net/2016/03/07/cpec-
CPEC and National
Development | Fazal
Certainly, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is
a splendid gift and demands equitable implementation.
Materialization of the project can be made possible with
investment from Chinese companies to develop
western part of both the countries through good
coordination provision of needed facilities, connectivity
enviable trading, financial integration and people to
people contact. Addressing the reservations of Khyber
Pukhtunkhawa and Balochistan will give a new impetus
to the execution process. Decision to form a 10-
member special committee under the Chairmanship of
the Prime Minister aims to defuse tension and remove
suspicions caused by misunderstanding and
communication gaps. It also conveys a message that
in democracy contentious issues are resolved by sitting
across the table.

Salient points of the agreement finalized during a high

level meeting on 15th January, 2016 under the
Chairmanship of the Prime Minister are, the location of
industrial parts would be decided in consultation with
the Provinces, while developing allied facilities and
infrastructure would be the shared responsibility of
both the Federal and Provincial Governments,
construction of the western alignment of the corridor
would be prioritized as per demand of KPK and
Balochistan governments under the principle one
corridor, multiple passages by July 15, 2018 and that
the allocated funds of Rs.40 billion would be enhanced,
if need arises. The western alignment would initially be
of four lanes expressway and its subsequent
conversion into six lanes and acquisition of the land will
be the responsibility of the KPK government. To
squeeze the communication gaps and regulate
interactions amongst the technical experts, a cell has
been established in the Ministry of Planning,
Development and Reform. Putting in place the
regulatory mechanism manifests top leadership
commitments to CPEC project. It will facilitate judicious
benefits to everyone. CPECs smooth and in time
execution will show statesmanship approach. It is also
the silver lining on the horizon which some pessimists
depict that the nation is falling in the abyss of
controversies as is observed in Kalabagh Dam project.

Chinese investment in CPEC will boost economic

development in the long run. While speaking on the
occasion of Pak-China Business Opportunities, Federal
Minister for Planning, Development and Reform has
termed 46 billion dollars investment as a beginning,
hoping to have 500 billion dollars investment through
industrial and commercial cooperation.

Earlier, a four member Committee was formed under

the chairmanship of Speaker KPK Provincial Assembly
during visit of Federal Minister for Planning,
Development and Reform. The Federal Minister
clarified that Chinese Government was not giving any
cash and was rather financing its companies for
investment in Pakistan. He further explained that the
plan was signed in July 2013. The execution could not
be started in 2014 due to political turmoil in the country.
KPK government was of the view that the CPEC in the
Province was not a western route but a road which was
tantamount to wilfully ignore KPK, Balochistan and
Gilgit Baltistan. KPK Chief Minister also complained
that the three Chief Ministers were not taken on board
including non-allocation of any funding for the western
route in the budget for 2015-16.

Albeit the agreement for US$ 46 billion was signed

earlier, but the timeframe is not available. Perhaps
politicizing the mega project made the process bumpy.
The Prime Minister has laid the foundation stone of
western route of CPEC Zhob-Mughal Kot of 81Kms to
be completed at the cost of Rs.8.8 billion and 126 Kms
Qila-Saifullah-Wagum for Rs.7.5 billion. The western
route of 2458 kms of CPEC from Zhob would connect
Gwadar, Quetta, Sorab and Hoshab. During Multi-Party
Conference by KPK political parties on 7th January and
Baluchistan on 10th January 2016, the participants
urged the Federal Government to follow
recommendations of the Conference held on 28th May
last year.

The actual cause of concerns is the provision of allied

facilities along the western route like (i) gas pipelines,
(ii) electricity transmission lines, (iii) fibre optic cables,
(iv) railway lines and (v) Liquefied Natural Gas facilities
for industries to be set up along the western route. The
Multi-Party Conference of Balochistan also adopted 13
points resolutions relating to people of Gwadar, like
complete control over Gwadar part of the Mega Project,
ban on settlers inclusion in electoral polls, provision
ofclean drinking water and other facilities, preference in
appointments, alternatives for fishing community,
provision ofscholarships and free education, health
facilities, return of confiscated land, partnership of
locals in investment, induction in security forces and
non-transfer of old city of Gwadar to new site,
condemned the issuance of new cards to citizens and
opposition to policy of dividing the people of Gwadar.

China sees CPEC, a key to vivid prosperity in the

region being a long term and systematic project with a
scientific planning and its implementation. Currently,
bilateral trade is US$12.290 billion of which 2.1 billion
dollars is Pakistans exports. CPEC, no doubt, is a part
of President Jin Xis foreign policy initiative One Belt
One Road which aims to increase Chinese foot from
Central Asia to Europe through use of loans to build
infrastructure and transport network. The head of
visiting 100 businessmen Mr. Sha Zukong has termed
Pakistan as a convergence point of Silk
Road Economic Belt and 21st century Maritime Silk

The CPEC project can prove a launch pad of Chinese

One Belt One Road policy. It can facilitates political
stability and economic development in the country
provided its implementation is done to the satisfaction
of every Federating Unit.

The writer is Islamabad-based political analyst.

Source: http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?