CPEC – Rookies, Rebels & Renaissance

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CPEC – A call for unprecedented unity

As first ship docks at Gwadar, people have all the right to start thinking more positively as finally Gwadar is partly operational now. A lot of imaginations and controversies (both foreign and domestic) are related with CPEC, people have their ideals associated with it, some (partly because of their misunderstandings and partly because they have been played by others) are revolting against it. Some are pretending to know it all and some are associating with it hope that CPEC will somehow at once jump start everything good missing from the Pakistani socioeconomic outset but emotions should not cloud our judgment. It’s only the beginning and sentiment in global affairs is the chemical defect found on the losing side. Pieces are slowly getting together, riddle is becoming little less complex. We see one country after another expressing their interest to join CPEC. We have seen recently Iran, Afghanistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia have realized that the mega project is intended for a greater expansion of mutually benefitting endeavors and will cultivate into joint welfare of the participants. It will only be a matter of time when rest of the GCC will follow Saudi example and will strive to come on board. Perhaps in the beginning when CPEC apparently only seemed to be a two state venture involving Pakistan and China it made the common adversaries more concerned about how to disrupt the course of it by bringing some heat to the gates i.e. by disturbing Baluchistan, but now they are more curious if there’s a larger game afoot? Their mistake is to imagine that anything that is earthly has led it to this moment, may be they think it’s all Pakistan but their error of judgement is to assume that Pakistan is holding the brush at all. In fact, Pakistan is merely a channel, bringing the region closer through CEPC.  When great powers are aligning themselves with the pleasant breeze of CPEC one can see the few unfortunate ones standing against it, mainly just for the sake of their misplaced sense of self-righteousness which gives a clear reflection about depth-touch of pure despise for an object and vison of such proximity. Rejecting something like CPEC which is unswerving to bring forth a wave of socioeconomic promises to the region becomes little bamboozle. A region where a large number of world’s most economically deprived masses are housed that too under a constant state of conflict have finally seen a ray of hope to join hands and prosper. If we put the future in perspective it gives the clearer idea that it is the radical NATO which is teaming with India and her allies (Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bahamas, Solomon Islands etc.) against the CPEC.

Silk route was a natural ancient freeway, a corridor through which traders and merchants journeyed from Beijing to Rome using it. CPEC is resurgent of that olden concept making it only natural for nations falling in its path to join in but as mentioned above only Indians seemingly have a problem with it. Pakistan’s strategic partnership with China has hindered India’s options and wishes to challenge Chinese expansion and to get a land route to central Asia therefore significance of Gwadar and CPEC in the whole paradigm becomes even more imperative. Commercial growth of China in the Far East, Africa and even in South America has raised a lot of eyebrows in the Wall Street and Pentagon. At the same time Chinese motives and objectives near South China Sea are stronger and challenging than ever for Americans and their ambitious expansion to central Asia via Gwadar through CPEC will be icing on the cake.

While evaluating the whole act one should also keep an eye on the flip side of it.  Americans querulously want to contain the dragon. They have done this successfully with the same wit when they were facing “The Bear” and are looking forward to merely repeating the same but the only problem is that this time around CENTCOM requires more logistic cushion, this is where Iranians and Chabahar come into play. Though Iranians have expressed the interest to come onboard but they might just still be playing on the both sides, despite actually far from facts but Chabahar has always been promoted by Indo-Iranian duo as alternate to Gwadar and Indian emphasis along with Afghanistan on the question is quite interesting. Joint Indo-Iran venture to “compete” and “neutralize” Gwadar is designed and directed to restrict China and subsequently jolting Pakistan’s frame of interest, a compulsive win-win situation for India and US.

Most important piece of the whole puzzle is the home front, political circus over the matter is creating a constant state of confusion. Every now and then some political party stands up and starts bashing the entire concept which has to stop. Government should also adopt the policy of transparency and they should share the details of the route with all political and provincial stake holders and the intention should be to make people the owner of this huge infrastructure exertion than they will protect it. If something was committed with any province and it’s not feasible now to deliver then it also needs to get communicated clearly with positive intent.

Most significant aspect of the entire equation is the fact that mere construction of a geo-strategically huge infrastructure project is not a solemn guarantee of economic and social advancement. To maximize the results governance needs to be transparent, people have to realize and own it and state should prioritize social sector developments such as education, utilities and health reforms as the major areas in which the whole juice of CPEC should get pumped in otherwise the whole exercise might still prove fruitless. A socio-economically stronger Pakistan will be military stronger too and to achieve that the political elite needs to be held accountable by the people therefore it’s the duty of the people of Pakistan to struggle peacefully for protection of such huge infrastructure project. People have to make sure political corruption does not sit on the top claiming to be their elected or pleaded representative and ends up jeopardizing everything as happened in the case of Egypt. One can see what fruits Suez Canal was able to bring in presence of corrupt leadership and an in competent governing mechanism to the deprived Egyptians. It only brought forth the global game and continuous economic suppression. Road ahead is a rocky one, building CPEC is just a start, actual journey lies after it. It will be a continuous struggle but hopefully with positive intent Pakistanis will reach their destination, rest assure; path to renaissance for the rookies is certainly a rebellious one.

 

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Ahsan Malik is an IT professional with a passionate & candid version of his own on national and international issues relating to Pakistan, he tweets @MohdAhsanMalik and can be reached at m.ahson.malik@gmail.com

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