The current international economic relations in the context of globalization demand that minor territorial disputes need to be ignored when there is a question of economic prosperity and interest of the whole region. CPEC is not only a trade route but it is in fact a convergence of different civilizations, the preservation of cultures, the blend of regional socioeconomic cohesion and an initiative of peace which will subdue extremism and will replace it by a quest for enlightenment, progress and development. It is such an initiative that will not only benefit friends but also foes, provided they take it pragmatically and realistically, instead of opposing it with a narrow approach of power politics. CPEC needs to be taken as a modern version of the ancient Silk Route, which served for centuries as a network of commercial and cultural interaction through the regions of Eurasia connecting the East and West.
The game changer CPEC and its related multi-sector projects are consistently on its path of completion and the main stakeholders China and Pakistan are destined to tap economic potential and benefits in coming years. Both of them have repeatedly demonstrated their unwavering commitment and seriousness for making this project a grand success, which has not only further cemented the Pak-China Friendship but has also sent a strong message to international power players that Pakistan is set to emerge as a stable economic state. The Chinese leadership is confident to see a brighter economic future for the people of not only their own country but also the whole region of over 4.4 billion population.
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The success of a state or an alliance is hardly digested by other competitors or rivals in international arena. Ever since the launching of the mega project, a potential campaign has been switched on by those states who do not want to see Pakistan prosper economically and China to have trade access to Central Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe through Gwadar Port, the culminating point of the 1,300-kilometer-long CPEC route from Kashgar. The world power USA, along with India and Israel take the strategic cooperation between China and Pakistan as a major bottleneck in expansion of their unnatural influence in the region.
There is yet another misperception and subversive propaganda being sponsored by India that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan are not happy with CPEC and that they would not be benefited by this mega project. The world power should also realize and understand this aspect. Gilgit-Baltistan will be drawing greater benefit from the multi-billion dollar CPEC as the region is set to get a sizeable economic zone to boost trade and commerce. The economic zone, spreading over 250 acres, will have scope for economic activities at a large scale. It will have industries for agriculture, livestock, minerals and handicrafts. Two separate hydro-power projects in the region were due to be included in CPEC. A 100 megawatt hydro-power project in Gilgit and another 80 megawatt project in Fundar valley in Ghizer district have been listed under CPEC, with the projects estimated to cost approximately Rs50 billion each.
A regional grid was scheduled to be established in Gilgit to pool energy resources. The financial resources for the grid would be provided by the federal government, which has already agreed to provide Rs25 billion for the purpose. In the first phase, three districts of Gilgit would be connected to the grid, while the rest of GB would be connected in the second phase.
One of the fundamental causes of extremism and terrorism is the socioeconomic deprivation of a particular area or community, particularly the youth. CPEC is in fact a mega communication, infrastructure and business network for all the regions it passes through. Thus, it will play a major role in eliminating extremism and terrorism through socioeconomic uplift, business and commercial opportunities and education and employment avenues. Therefore, the US should also realize the fact that it could not eliminate extremism and terrorism from Afghanistan despite having fought a 17 years’ war through its 48 members alliance, including Nato. But China will most likely eliminate extremism and terrorism from its Xinjiang province through CPEC, where development and business activities will change the mind and approach of the people towards life. The passage of CPEC through this border province will change the culture and social fabric of this Muslim province with employment and commercial opportunities and other socioeconomic and cultural convergence.
(This news/article originally appeared in The News on November 20th, 2018)