The implementation of CPEC, notwithstanding the machinations of its detractors both internal and external elements, is well on its way.
Though the biggest beneficiary of this epoch-making initiative will be Balochistan but its benefits will also be shared by other provinces as well as the countries of the region due to the connectivity that it will ensure in the long run. Thanks to the unflinching resolve and commitment of the government to give the project national ownership by removing the misgivings of the federating units and the unswerving support of the Army to ensure CPEC becoming a vibrant reality within the stipulated time in a secure environment.
The initiative conceived by the Chinese and Pakistan joining as a partner, apart from lifting the economic profile of the latter and countries of the region, will contribute tremendously to eternal bondage between them and ensuring peace and stability in South Asia. Nevertheless some of our neighbours are hell-bent to sabotage this game-changing project. India has been using diplomatic offensive as well as covert operations undertaken by RAW to create chaotic conditions in Balochistan and also by supporting insurgency in the province. The arrest of a serving Indian naval officer Kul Bhushan Yadav in Balochistan last month, followed by the arrest of an Afghan intelligence officer who was sponsoring terrorist activities in the province amply demonstrate the threats that the country is faced with . The Indian agent has admitted in his confessional statement that one of his assignment was to sabotage CPEC and that he was working on plans to attack Gawadar port and infrastructure in other coastal towns for which the Baloch insurgents had been trained and provided with motor boats to implement the assault.
These arrests indicate the agility and alertness of our intelligence and law enforcing agencies who deserve unqualified accolades for the good work that they are doing to thwart the nefarious design of the enemies of the country. The Army Chief General Raheel Sharif has repeatedly reiterated that the security forces will ensure the implementation of CPEC at any cost. The contribution of Army in this regard is of pivotal importance. A special Division comprising 15,000 personnel has been raised to provide security to the infrastructure and projects to be implemented under CPEC. The Frontier Works Organization which has been given the task to build part of the western route of CPEC in Balochistan, has already constructed 675 Kms of road and by the end of the year 870 kms of road infrastructure will be in place.
Gawadar port has a great geo-political significance with a potential to develop into a hub of economic activity as most of the Central Asian countries and Russia are very much interested in gaining access to the Arabian Sea through this port. This will generate great economic activity in Balochistan, particularly the areas through which the western route will pass. The industrial zones along the route will also create thousands of jobs and economic benefits to the people of the province.
CPEC is not only about the development of the communication and road infrastructure but also generation of the much needed electricity for the country. Out of the $46 billion total investment under CPEC $ 34 billion pertains to projects in the energy sector, which are estimated to generate 10,460 MW of electricity by the end of 2018. That would not only help the country in tiding over the energy crisis but would also give boost to the setting up of new industrial projects in the country. In view of its potential and scope the CPEC has rightly been billed as a harbinger of transformational change.
The COAS General Raheel Sharif addressing a seminar on ‘Peace and Prosperity in Balochistan and CPEC’ at Gawadar on Tuesday said that CPEC was a grand manifestation of eternal ties between China and Pakistan that had much greater scope than the bilateral domain of relations. He said CPEC is our national commitment and we would not leave any stone unturned in this regard and it would be realised no matter whatever it takes to implement it. He mentioned the hostility of our neighbours and their antics to torpedo CPEC and also sounded a warning to elements on the internal front who were trying to foment chaos in the country saying “ Let me make it clear that we will not allow anyone to create impediments and turbulence in any part of Pakistan. Therefore it is important for all to leave behind confrontation and focus on cooperation” That amply demonstrates the commitment and the stakes that the security establishment has in the implementation of the CPEC. In the obtaining circumstances his warning to players on the domestic level who are contemplating to stir up political instability, is also very timely.
The challenges confronting the country are so formidable that even a hint of political instability can have devastating impact on the efforts to surmount them. Tackling terrorism requires unruffled attention of the government as well as the security forces. The successes achieved against terrorist through operation Zarb-e-Azb, as a result of unparalleled sacrifices made by the people, law enforcing agencies and the personnel of the armed forces, cannot be allowed to be frittered away consequent upon internal dissension and politics of self-aggrandisement. These achievements have created a space for the implementation of NAP and taking the fight to the sympathiser of the terrorists and their sleeper cells throughout the country. Balochistan is fast returning to normalcy and situation in Karachi is far better than when the targeted operation was launched there. We need to consolidate those gains through an impregnable unity and national outlook rather than indulging in political squabbles and doing politics of agitation and confrontation.
Our time tested friend China who has a great stake in the realisation of the CPEC initiative, would also very much like the completion of projects in an environment of political stability and security as per the stipulated time-line. Any disruption or political instability created by the political opponents of the government at this critical juncture may not go well the Chinese investors. Political differences and contentious issues must be resolved through peaceful and democratic means. Instead of using the Panama Leaks for gaining political mileage against the sitting government it should be taken as an opportunity to get together to carry out necessary reforms in the system of governance and plugging the loopholes in our taxation and fiscal policies. Digging up things that happened in the past is not going to yield any positive results except distracting the national focus on fighting the diabolical challenges. Even if the government and the opposition agree on the formation of a judicial commission, my considered view is that neither the Panamanian government nor the legal firm involved would cooperate with a Pakistani commission. So it would be an exercise in futility.