The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has been heralded both as the savior of the Pakistani economy and the bone of contention in most heated debates. Whether a cause of concern or a step forward, or even both is something only time will tell.
With an estimated investment of more than $50 Billion from China, Pakistan has dutifully supplied the manpower needed to put the monetary framework into a multitude of tangible, visible structures bringing the decades long friendly ties between both countries to a whole new level. It is important to note however, that the advantages associated with CPEC extend far beyond the Sino-Pakistani friendship and encompass trade links with other neighboring countries as well.
At present, there are a number of questions leveled at CPEC, most of which stem from the lack of transparency associated with the project. Political sensitivity in addition to the unknown has emerged as a surefire way to ponder over the political and economic merits of the project.
Domestic disputes and criticisms aside, it cannot be denied however, that CPEC is an investment that will change the very foundations of the Pakistani economy. With a multi-faceted focus and widespread development in all provinces, CPEC is a nation-wide progress package from which everyone stands to benefit; the government, the businessmen and the average Pakistani.
With the pace the world is moving at, it is essential that Pakistan jumps on the industrial bandwagon and tries to keep up, if not fully come to par, with its developed counterparts. CPEC is what offers to fulfill that hope of speeding up industrialization and putting Pakistan, once more, at the core of investment opportunities. An economically dependable nation is one of the most important elements of building a soft image against the stereotype of terrorism.
Though CPEC primarily focuses on the sectors of energy, infrastructure, trade, health and education, another important by product of its regional connectivity lies in multicultural exchange opportunities; a feat that would indubitably promote peace, tolerance and the ideological development that Pakistan direly needs after the conservative isolation it has faced over a number of years.
It is thus important to realize that the future of CPEC, though a game-changer in and of itself, depends largely on its portrayal and handling. If the project continues to remain in the shadow without proper information and quantification, it would only be too easily exploited through the evergreen waves of anti-government sentiment.
Moreover, it is important to review the projects and divide them in a way that ensures maximum participation in and for all provinces on board, so that an equal opportunity platform is establishedto foster positive sentiment between provinces that have largely remained at war with each other for resources.