Syeda Kiran Hussain
China Pakistan Economic Corridor is going to be a game changer not only for Pakistan but for the entire region. Gwadar, a warm water deep sea port holds a significant importance in the region because of its geo strategic location. It is located at the junction of Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman, which makes it a key maritime route to the oil producing region. China is heavily dependent on Gulf oil therefore Gwadar is providing the best opportunity to transport oil from Persian Gulf to China by road. In past, the Chinese ships had to travel through the Indian and Pacific Ocean covering a distance of approximately 16000 km to reach its commercial sea port Shinghai. The Chinese city of Kashgar is far away from Shinghai as it is located near the border of Pakistan. So, it was a difficult, time consuming and an expensive trade route. Gwadar is connected to Kashgar with the shortest distance of 2000 km by Karakarom Highway.
CPEC is a mega project as it will bring direct foreign investment in Pakistan. It will bring more opportunities of employment, development projects, trade and investment, and economic benefits. China is reconstructing the ancient Silk Road under the new name One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. This network of road will work as a North South Trade Corridor by connecting the maritime trade routes of Egypt and Middle East at Gwadar and then the OBOR land route from Gwadar to China, Central Asia and Eurasian region. A new era of prosperity, development, economic cooperation and regional integration will start by linking the regional countries with the New Silk Route. Trade and commerce will flourish. Under CPEC, China would invest 46 billion dollars in Pakistan for the development of infrastructure and energy. It is claimed that this mega project will boost up the economy of Pakistan three to four times. Meanwhile the establishment of Gwadar International airport, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and exploration of natural resources like oil and gas, coal and minerals will not only prosper Balochistan but will enhance its significance globally. Pakistan’s dream of becoming Asian Tiger is definitely going to be a reality soon.
Iran is interested in becoming a part of CPEC. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed his views during his meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef on the sidelines of the UN General’s Assembly’s 71st Session which was held last month. He asserted that security of Pakistan was the security of Iran itself and economic development of Pakistan was the economic development of Iran. He showed interest for bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, defense, science and technology etc. He suggested that along with Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, Iran could install a power plant on the border with Pakistan to supply electricity. This will help Pakistan to overcome its energy crisis in the coming years. CPEC has transformed the dynamics of regional politics all together. It has left behind India, our old rival by making Pakistan a regional key player.