Pakistan, China and the Future of CPEC

Hamza Ikhlaq
From the very birth of Pakistan and the rise of the communist regime in China, both countries have always had an extremely close and co-operative relationship. These ties are what to led to an “All-Weather Strategic Co-operative Partnership” between the two nations, as stated by the Ministry of foreign affairs in Pakistan. From this, CPEC a project born through China’s ambitious ‘Belt and Road Initiative,  started in 2015.
This flagship project aims to bring a significant increase in infrastructure and strengthen Pakistan’s economy through a rise in trading activities, while simultaneously allowing China to create roads, railways and oil pipelines to improve links with the Middle East and North Africa. The Pakistani government has always emphasized on CPEC’s aims as this would immensely help Pakistan’s delicate economy running heavily on foreign aid and loans.
On the contrary, many experts question as to how successful and fruitful this project will be for Pakistan. Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch, former Chief Minister of Balochistan had previously raised concerns as to how local communities have been excluded from CPEC and may not be able to get their rightful benefits. According to a press release, Dr. Abdul Malik had stated “their interests and identities need to be protected through legislation for sustainability.” Michael Kugelman, the Deputy Director of The Asia Program at Wilson Center, had also been very dubious as to how CPEC may function under heavy influence from China. “Beijing’s investment models around the world entail a lot of opacity, very little technology transfer and the use of Chinese labor”, stated Kugelman in an interview with TNS. Many fear the increase in Chinese dominance to an unfair extent in the region, which may create disputes within Pakistan.
Despite such concerns, the Federal Government of Pakistan, reassures its citizens that such a failure with CPEC would be highly inevitable. Prime Minister Imran Khan vows to complete CPEC and ensures its stability. “The corridor is a manifestation of Pakistan-China friendship and the Government will complete it at any cost”, the PM stated in July 2020. Until a complete picture is not retained for CPEC, only time can tell as to how much of a success or failure this ambitious project will truly be.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agree with them.
Share your comments!