CPEC – A business-friendly regime for sustainable growth

QUETTA: With Pak-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) entering second phase, the local people expect rise of pro-business regime with hopes of making the multi-billion CPEC, a vehicle for sustainable development. Now even the local people and among those who once used to resist this project, start thinking it as a game changing project that once completed would definitely have dividends for the local people. Even the past critic and now an MPA from the port city of Gawadar, Hidayat-ur-Rehman also hope for making CPEC project, a vehicle for reinvigorating province's economy. Overall economic recession coupled with other issues affected the pace of the project that caused rise of Rights movement led by an ordinary fisherman Hidayat-ur-Rehman who rose to fame and finally got elected MPA from Gwadar. 'The local people, fearing to becoming minority resisted the project while those at the helm of affairs believed once completed, the local population will be main beneficiary of the project,' Hadayat-ur-Rehman remarked . 'The present government has given us a promising hope that CPEC will improve life of common Balochistan inhabitants.' Getting fame from rigid stance on CPEC and elected MPA from Gwadar, Hidayat-ur-Rehman when questioned on his approach, replied, 'I am not against CPEC but the discrimination. When a project worth billions is launched in Gwadar, it should also benefit local people.' 'I have no objection, if Chinese government, its companies and our government continues with CPEC. The only demand I present is to ensure that rights of local people are not compromised,' he argued. 'If local population is deprived of basic civic amenities like education, health, drinking water, uninterrupted power, vocational training and jobs, then why people of Gwadar will not raise voice for their rights.' Launched back in 2006, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that has significantly impacted Pakistan over past one and half decade. It is a framework of regional con nectivity which will not only benefit China and Pakistan but Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asian Republic and the region. Since onset, the multi-billion dollar CPEC project witnessed ups and down due to internally changing political scenario as well as external interference and hatching of conspiracies by hostile forces to derail the project and make it controversial. 'The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) represents a watershed moment for Balochistan, offering unprecedented opportunities for development and integration into global economy,' Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Sarfaraz Bugti informed reporter. 'Balochistan's role in CPEC, particularly through the development of Gwadar Port, is central to our vision for province's future,' the Chief Minister said. 'This project is not just about infrastructure; it's about opening doors to international trade, creating jobs and fostering economic activities to transform socio-economic landscape of Balochistan.' Terming uplift of Gwadar as top priority of his government, Chief Minister Bugti said, 'we are committed to ensuring that CPEC becomes a vehicle for sustainable development, ameliorate lot of our people and respect for our natural and cultural heritage.' 'The challenges we face are significant, but opportunities presented by CPEC give us reasons for optimism,' CM Balochistan Bugti remarked. 'Our administration is dedicated to making Balochistan a model of inclusive development, where every citizen can benefit from the province's natural wealth and strategic position,' the Chief Minister said. 'We are engaging with local community, civil society and our partners in China to ensure that development under CPEC is equitable and sustainable.' Meanwhile, officials of Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives also expressed belief that CPEC would prove to be a journey towards economic regionalization in this globalized world. It is also a hope of better future of our people and those in this region. Chairman Standing Committee on Petroleum Sena tor Mohammad Abdul Qadir was also optimistic about the success of CPEC projects and will of the government for its early completion. 'PML-N is known for pro-development and business friendly initiatives and hence they own CPEC. I foresee CPEC flourishing and becoming center of attention in coming days,' the Senator said and stressed setting up industrial zones. 'Establishing industrial zones is important and the government is keenly working on their development,' Abdul Qadir said. 'With functioning of foreign industries, the local industry will also flourish making the government save billions of rupees in terms of transportation.' He also underlined the need for provision of power, water and security to make the CPEC a success. The escalation of pace on CPEC projects, making locals beneficiary of project's outcome and enhancement of co-operation by win-win model will definitely result in well-connected, integrated region of shared destiny, harmony and development. The journey is complex, but our resolve is unwavering. Together, we, with the support of our Chinese friends and hard work of our people, can lay a foundation for a vibrant and economically strong Balochistan. If the new set up diligently pursue commitments of the government made to its international partners and forge ahead on a journey to progress, then the days will not be far off that Balochistan stands tall and proud on the world stage.