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Shehbaz to stabilize the country

By Naveed Aman Khan

June 23, 2024 09:48 PM


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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif known as  'Shehbaz Speed' to accelerate the work on all those agreements and Memorandums of Understanding mutually agreed on during his recent five days visit to China. Pakistani delegation was accompanied by leading business groups of the country. Premier Shehbaz Sharif believes that Pakistan can achieve microeconomic and macroeconomic set targets easily by following the Chinese model of economic development. Premier will has to focus on energy and power sectors more than anything else. Electricity and gas tariffs are extremely high. Both domestic and commercial consumers can't afford very high tariffs. If not addressed the country will not be able to improve production and exports at all. High manufacturing cost squeezes chances of winning international competitive markets.

Phase II of China Pakistan Economic Corridor encompasses steps to alleviate poverty, empower youth through vocational training, improve health facilities in under developed areas and help improve agriculture sector. These steps are in line with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. This will bring major improvements in life of people from under developed areas living below the poverty line.

 The Belt and Road Initiative is reincarnation of ancient Silk Road, albeit much larger in scope and magnitude. China Pakistan Economic Corridor is one of the multiple strands of this whole that will connect 60 plus countries. Chinese vision for BRI revolves around voluntary participation and mutually beneficial trade respecting UN Charter. Trade through economic corridors comprising land routes and sea-lanes has been rapidly multiplying in velocity and volume due to globalization. Velocity refers to the intensity and increase in the number of interactions. Volume is related with the density of goods that are being exchanged. Ancient Silk Road has been one such corridor. It connected China, Eurasia and the World with mutually beneficial trade and shared economic dividends having social, cultural and religious impacts.

About 7500 new jobs have been created; the number is expected to climb to 1.2 million by 2030. When operationalized it will translate into socio-economic uplift of the people ushering an era of comparative prosperity and better living standards. Many problems in a society are due to poverty and illiteracy. The infrastructural development brings speedy development in the country through better connectivity. The areas falling along the route of CPEC have already started benefitting. Gwadar is developing at a better pace. The property prices in Gwadar have increased manifold.

The Chinese, Russian, Saudi and other countries investments and presence of foreigners in the country are expected to deter direct external threats as well. Enhanced economic dividend will also augment human security. When seen in conjunction with the Belt and Road Initiative, China Pakistan Economic Corridor is not only a trade corridor. It is likely to go much beyond that. It will be connecting Pakistan to Central Asia, South

Asia, West Asia, Middle East, Europe and North Africa. The interconnectivity will endow economic, socio-cultural, anthropological and educational advantages on Pakistan, all partner Countries and the regions.

The law and order situation is also related to socio- economic condition of the masses. Betterment in socio-economic conditions is likely to have positive impact on overall governance in Pakistan. Similarly more jobs and better education, while alleviating poverty and enhancing knowledge and education, will reduce the availability of exploitable human resource to the exploiters: extremists and criminals. This will help the country in internal stabilisation.

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor is offering great chance to make best use of our youth bulge, currently estimated to be about 60% of the population, through better opportunities for higher education and vocational training. Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and China have already operationalized the collaborative mechanism. China is expected to provide 21000 Scholarship to Pakistan during next three years.

In due course, the partner countries will become part of a trade bloc comprising 60 plus countries having population of three billion with intertwined destinies. It will gradually evolve into a mutually beneficial trade bloc with obvious political influence in the international arena. Another default advantage could be cooperation amongst member countries on issues like countering the growing extremism, drug trafficking and gun running.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor can be turned into a useful foreign policy instrument to improve relations with Iran, Afghanistan and India by providing them land access for trade. It could help in convincing Afghanistan to become a China Pakistan Economic Corridor partner and establish better Pakistan-China-Afghanistan trilateral relationships. Intertwined economic stakes and confluence of counter terrorism and anti-narcotics objectives could further augment these ties. The prospects of shared economic dividends can also act as enablers to improve bilateral and multilateral cooperation to mitigate prevalent differences and contentious issues.

The short, mid and long-term plans made for China Pakistan Economic Corridor by Pakistan and China have to be strongly supported by the governmental and non-governmental institutions to forestall bureaucratic hurdles, procedural interruptions and internal or external opposition to rectify unnecessary delays and ensure desired progress. Appropriate mechanism needs to be established and operationalized to ensure this. For every country political stability is a prerequisite for the economic development and stability.


Naveed Aman Khan

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The writer is editor, book ambassador, geo political scientist and author of several books on media and international affairs based in Islamabad. He can be reached at [email protected] and X@AmanNaveed11


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