‘CPEC as sensitive as nuclear programme’

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Lahore: Participants of a discussion have called upon all the stakeholders for executing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as carefully as it was done in the case of national atomic programme.

Former Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed Khan, Prof Dr Farooq Hasnat, PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan, Prof Dr Amjad Magsi and others joined the discussion hosted by PML-N leader Muhammad Mehdi. “The CPEC must not implemented in the conventional manner but an autonomous team after the pattern of nuclear programme needs to be put in place”, said Shamshad Ahmad Khan.
Disapproving the use of phrase ‘game changer’ for Corridor, advised the government to keep the project at low profile till completion. Use of bombastic words for the project, is open to provoke enemies which abhor Pakistan and China going through it, he added.
Shamshad also stressed the need for taking all provinces, particularly Balochistan and KPK along so that the CPEC may not become another Kalabagh Dam. He said only economically and socially strong and politically stable Pakistan can frame its own foreign policies in the present day world. “And the project will be milestone towards that end,” he added.

“This project is not mere a window for investment in Pakistan but also a response by China to the policy of containment framed against it by the world powers under the theme of ‘Asia Pivot.’ As such the CPEC also holds larger interest than an utter favour to Pakistan.”

Dr Hasnat said spending of $46billion projects in Pakistan is not a financial assistance but investment by China which it would also have a strong eye on its dividend. “Pakistan therefore must not take this point lightly and avoid making the project game of kids,” he said while stressing the need for putting own house in order. He said the project had strategic importance for Pakistan to check the access of new Indian Blue Navy that has been specially formed to expand influence in Arabian Sea. Dr Hasnat wanted the Sharifs not to give time to the National and Punjab Assembly, respectively as a matter of addressing weaknesses of the government at the powerbase, the parliament.
He particularly wanted the Punjab chief minister to limit his national role as his excessive exposure in federal affairs could cause resentment among other provinces. “Satisfaction of other province and taking them along on the project would give great confidence to China to stick to this project. Otherwise it could reconsider its vision of development if other provinces are not taken on the board.”

Dr Magsi appreciated the efforts of Balochistan CM Dr Abdul Maalik Baloch on engaging the disgruntled Balochs in a peace process and removing apprehensions of ANP chief Asfandyar Wali on CPEC route. He asked the political parties to take the CPEC in the larger national interest instead of making it controversial. He also stressed the need for trusting in political institutions and allowing them to work.
Senator Mushahidullah said after the completion of the corridor a tremendous economic boost will come about in the country. He said the corridor would be a link from Europe to Arica and all business activity in this region will be carried out through Pakistan. “China has already invested much in Africa and that its trade with Africa as well as with the Middle East will take place through Pakistan.”