China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a collection of vast infrastructure projects including some energy projects as well. CPEC: Challenges and Benefits It’s aim is to upgrade the infrastructure in Pakistan through construction projects and advanced transportation networks.This ambitious project will be helpful in strengthening the Pak-China relations in the form of enhanced trade between these two friendly countries. CPEC will be helpful in economic growth, tackling energy crisis and providing more job opportunities to the people of these two countries.The prime purpose behind this project is to bring improvements in the lives of people of Pakistan and China through economic co-operations, agricultural developments, poverty alleviation programmes and etc.
Importance of CPEC:
It will act as a primary trade route between China, Africa and Middle East. This corridor will help in shortening the route of trade by 12000 km which is a plus point for this amazing project. Where it has extensive benefits, it has to face some challenges on the other hand.
Intrinsic Challenges being faced by CPEC
1-Absence of Supremacy of Law:
The very first challenge is absence of supremacy of law in Pakistan.The basic purpose of which is to provide protection of life and independent and free movement across the country. World Justice Project placed Pakistan at rank of 106 out of 113 countries in a survey regarding public experience of supremacy of law. And we know that success in this project is impossible without providing security.
Political instability is a second major hurdle in the progress of this project. Political stability is a prerequisite for economic growth of a country, therefore it is necessary to overcome the political instability. Otherwise it will deprive us of this amazing project.
There are some inter-provincial grievances on the route change for CPEC. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government objected that Federal Government wants to build firstly the eastern route which passes from Central Punjab. And further said that Punjab has a lion’s share in the benefits of CPEC.
Extrinsic Challenges being faced by CPEC:
1-India’s hostile attitude towards Pakistan:
India has evil-intentioned demands regarding CPEC for example Gilgit Baltistan is a disputed territory, so the route of CPEC is illegal. Furthermore,India is playing its cards in Balochistan in order to cause hurdles in progress of CPEC. Arrest of Indian agent Kulbhushan Jadev in Balochistan is clear evidence of India’s interruption in Balochistan.
Indo-Afghan nexus is also one of major hurdles to CPEC. India is making its military bases in Afghanistan and controlling terrorist activities happening in Pakistan. Porous Pak-Afgan border is also a cause of terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
3-Indian Investment in Chabahar Port:
Iran is working on Chabahar port in co-operation with India. India is investing billions of dollars in Chabahar Port only in order to affect and reduce the working of Gawadr Port of Pakistan.
4-Involvement of US and Japan:
Two powers, US and Japan are unhappy on the progress of CPEC. US is causing hurdles in progress of CPEC and working of Gawadar port because it considers China a threat to its dominance over the world. Japan is unhappy on this project because distance between China and its trading countries is reduced up to 9000 km which directly affects the exports of Japan.
Despite Intrinsic and Extrinsic Challenges, CPEC has extensive benefits:
1-It will boost the Economy of Pakistan:
CPEC will boost the economy of Pakistan which shall be helpful in poverty eradication and will lead towards progress and prosperity. According to MOODY’S report it will be helpful in industrial development in Pakistan. The completion of CPEC will provide immense economic opportunities and employment in Pakistan. It is a 3218 km long route including railways, pipelines and so on. It will connect China to the markets of Asia and Europe.
2-It Will Help in Overcoming The Energy Crisis
CPEC will help to overcome Energy Crisis in Pakistan. National Transmission and Dispatch Company’s (NTDC) data shows that total capacity of installed setup to generate electricity in Pakistan is 32234 mega watt while short fall is in between 5000-6000 mega watt. CPEC will help to overcome this energy crisis.
3-CPEC, major driver of Foreign Direct Investment:
Pakistan experienced meager Foreign Direct Investment during past few years. However, CPEC will enhance the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Pakistan. As a result, it will boost the economy. Under the banner of CPEC, work on infrastructure and developmental projects is under progress for example Power construction corporation (China) and Al Mirqab Capital (Qatar).
4-It will provide employment opportunities:
CPEC will provide extensive employment opportunities. According to International Labor Organization it will provide 400000 jobs. While according to Applied Economic Research Center, it will provide 700000 direct jobs to the people.
5-It will help in promoting tourism:
Through investment in Gawadar Port and infrastructure projects, CPEC will be helpful in promoting tourism in Pakistan and especially in Gilgit Baltistan. Moreover, China’s access to the Arabian Sea will enhance its trade with Middle East, Africa and Europe.
Steps to Be Taken To Ensure the Success of CPEC
1-More vibrant Security measures:
As we know that without providing security, success is impossible. According to reports, The killing of 44 workers of CPEC took place by the militants causing hurdles to progress of CPEC. So,for the completion and success of CPEC, providing more vibrant security measures is necessary.
Political stability is necessary for economic growth, similarly, for the success of CPEC Political stability must be ensured.
3-Peace in Afghanistan:
Peace in Afghanistan is necessary for the peace of South Asia, as it is considered to be the heart of South Asia. Success of CPEC is dependent upon the peace in Afghanistan. Moreover, taking steps to stop the transport of militants and terrorists across the porous border of Pakistan and Afghanistan (Durand line) is important.