Apprehensions on CPEC by US not valid
It is the sovereign right of any state to build relations of any type with any country of the world based on mutual interests but at the same time we tend to overlook ground realities existing between the two countries specially those who are immediate neighbours and help you when you are in trouble. US was the first country to establish relationship with Pakistan on 20 October 1947 and it has been wonderful experience as Pakistan received massive military and economic aid but as we started building our relations with other countries specially which were in race with the US we started facing difficulties. After 3 years of independence Pakistan recognized China in 1950 and established diplomatic relations on 21 May 1951.
There have been ups and downs in relationship with US but with China it kept gaining strength and China became the only country to help us at the time we needed her support. We fought war on terror as front ally of US rendered valuable services and lost over one lac people and able to eliminate terrorists and RAW agents from our soil, but in the bargain we suffered colossal damage to our infrastructure over $100 billion but were not paid compensation instead faced Mantra of do more. China’s contribution has been tremendous when we faced sanctions from US we were rescued by China time tested friend
There have been lot of changes globally US was unable to accomplish its task in Afghanistan, 13 years battle ended in colossal losses in men and material and trillions of dollars were spent in the unending war between Taliban and US and combined forces, ultimately US had to enter in to dialogue to end this long bloody war and that could not be achieved without the help of Pakistan who has always advocated for peace in the region. Pakistan’s sacrifices were forgotten and we were left with no choice to enter into long term projects with Republic of China to develop infrastructure and create job opportunities in the region.
In 2013 Chinese leader Xi Jipping introduced a new development strategy and framework called One Belt, One Road (OBOR) to bring connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily between PRC and the rest of Eurasia. OBOR has six main corridors. We will discuss the 6th corridor called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with $62 Billion investment. It is estimated that within a decade China’s annual trade with OBOR will exceed $2.5 trillion. CPEC is the main component of OBOR. The basic concept of CPEC is to join Gwadar (Arabian Seaport) in Pakistan with Kashgar (Xinjiang province) in Western China. Chinese government is keen to regain the status of the Kashgar as was hundreds years ago when caravans between East and west made it to the most important city in Western China. In this way the Gwadar becomes the main component of CPEC giving shortest access, CPEC has the most obvious advantages over the other corridors because of its location. It links Gwadar with Kashgar at the middle of OBOR, where the quantum of business and traffic will be at the peak. Somehow or the other this development is not liked by the west because besides Chinese government, the ECO is the flagship institution to enhance the trade and economic relations among ECO member countries, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran,, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan,, Turkmenistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
The uproar became prominent when senior US official Alice Wells gave most irresponsible statement regarding CPEC when she said that black listed companies of China have been awarded contracts and she also passed uncalled for remark that Pakistan would face a heavy debt due to various project. Question arises firstly it is uncalled for statement on her part; she is no one to poke her nose between two sovereign states. Why US should just even show concern on such issues. Chinese government had to issue proper strict rebuttal that this CPEC is game changer and is of great benefit to Pakistan as it will create thousands of jobs. All sovereign states are independent to adopt independent economic and political policies shall benefit the entire region and the offer is open for everyone to join CPEC. It is true that Pakistan will have to borrow from governments and China loans and then arrange more funds to pay off the interest. Alice Wells thinks by doing so Pakistan will fall in debt trap but why it should worry her. It is between China and Pakistan how they manage it is not their business. China has become role model of growing economy their export of goods throughout the world speaks volume of their vision to connect the entire world. We have to look after our own interest without considering what US feels. Once economic zones are made operational it will have very positive effect who want to avail the opportunities to be provided by CPEC. US concern and its pressure on Pakistan is on account of Indian pressure on US being their strategic partner to create hurdles for Pakistan. China and Pakistan are on one page and moving fast in completing the projects. Pakistan is looking forward towards China in relocating its some of heavy industry to special economic zones (SEZs) that would generate huge employment opportunities for Pakistan. Undoubtedly China has become the largest contributor in FDI. US has been a great friend but after the war on terror has become little unfriendly and has disappointed us for not fully recognizing our sacrifices, under such circumstances when US is reluctant to help us if China is helping Pakistan he should be more happy as Pakistan has still to play its part in Afghanistan therefore it will be more appropriate for US to come out and chalk out a plan how to help Pakistan Long live China Pakistan friendship.