Concerns About CPEC

Prime Minister Imran Khan has completed his four-day visit to China at a time when ties with Beijing are at ease at a delicate moment. According to an official statement, the premier had important meetings with the Chinese leadership including President Xi Jinping, where he discussed a wide range of issues with the president.

One of the main reasons for Prime Minister Khan's visit to China was to witness the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics which he also utilized this opportunity to interact with the prominent leaders of the world in attendance and to make an assessment of the various aspects of the Islamabad-Beijing relationship, including China Pakistan Economic Corridor which is one key component of bilateral ties between the two countries. Reports indicate that CPEC has lost its original pace which has led to anxiety that it may not have received the required focused attention that had been envisioned.

Premier said that this project was significant for the development and economy of Pakistan as in the past eight years the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) brought a direct investment of over $25 billion along with job creation.

He said that following the war against terrorism the Chinese investment for power generation and connectivity came at a very crucial time in Pakistan when the country faced economic problems. He further stated that the previous two very corrupt governments’ tenures also caused the financial crisis.

Premier stated that one of the reasons why there is so much love here for the people of China is that it came in at the most difficult times for us. Now CPEC has been entering the second stage of investment in agriculture, industrial zones, and information technology.

Before Prime Minister Khan visits China many cabinet ministers had said that the matters related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would constitute a high priority during his visit. The reports stated that the premier and his associates reviewed the progress along with Chinese officials and necessary headway was made to keep it on track.

It is a positive sign if that is the case as CPEC holds a central place in the country’s efforts towards economic recovery including infrastructure development and job creation. At one stage, it was allowed to become a source of public controversy, when some government politicians made some irresponsible statements about CPEC. The leadership of Pakistan needs to ensure that special care must be taken to avoid spreading any misperceptions and the venture of multibillion-dollar does not fall victim to petty politics.

It is best for the two neighboring countries in pursuing the project as each side has its own national interest and if any disputes and reservations arise they should settle them in private. It is also important to not let the bureaucratic inertia and red tape become an obstacle in finishing CPEC projects on time and meeting deadlines. 

The standards of transparency have to be kept in mind at all times, which is the only way for both nations to reap the dividends.