Its right to says that CPEC is the soul of China’s Belt and Road initiative, which is China’s master plan to connect with markets of the world. No doubt, CPEC is bringing huge investments to Pakistan in 2021, which is amplifying Pakistan’s economy. It includes projects to develop rail networks, road networks, energy projects, port, industrial zones and much more. Above all, it is witnessed as a game-changer for Pakistan in Economic, Social and Political domains. As per history, CPEC was envisioned in the decade of 1950 with the construction of Karakorum Highway. The initial working of Gwadar Port was done in Musharraf’s era but halted due to political instability.
Later it was the year 2013, when the CPEC in its entirety came to existence, after long-standing dialogues between Islamabad and Beijing. The year 2015 brings a new life to Pakistan’s dwindling economy, with the conclusion of $46 Billion investment agreements between China and Pakistan, during the visit of China’s President to Pakistan.
According to Pakistan’s BOI(Board of Investments), currently, 21 energy, 4 transport, and 8 Gawadar development projects are identified to date with the collective investment of approximately $44.37 billion.
Once CPEC is operational, the energy issue is resolved and Gawadar Free Zone is developed. Moreover, the foreign investments would be clamped in Pakistan unimaginably and a new age of Pakistan would begin.
Issues of this project:
- There is also a political domain to CPEC. Massive Chinese investment and population flow when combined with China’s international standing as an economic World power and an on path political world power, it seems a threat to sections of the population in Pakistan as if Pakistan is on its way to becoming a satellite state of China in the region.
Furthermore, an abundance of Chinese investments and population in Gawadar bringing insecurities to the sections of the Pakistani population, which are afraid of becoming a demographic minority in Balochistan.
Moreover, there is a vast difference in Chinese and Pakistani culture, the way we live, eat, speak, greet and celebrate. So, that Chinese influx to Pakistan is also conceived as a potential threat to the social culture of Pakistan, alongside a great economic opportunity.
CPEC is no doubt a great economic opportunity for both Pakistan and China but some are worried about the socio-political disturbances in Pakistan in wake of economic prosperity. Those issues hit stronger when heavy Chinese investments in Pakistan fails to counter the menace of unemployment in Pakistan. The issue needs to be addressed that CPEC is serving whom and at cost of what?