Government’s priorities and CPEC

By Abdul Wajid Khan

After the completion of this year’s general elections, Pakistan’s nascent democratic system has entered into the next stage as third consecutive democratically elected government has taken the charge of the government. Country´s new Prime Minister Imran Khan has succeeded to break the status quo in the country’s politics and has formed his government with the help of allies after his struggle of 22 years. This is ushering of new political era in the country’s history and his government has started implementation on its first 100-days agenda.
In his first address to the nation a day after assuming the prime minister`s office, Imran Khan vowed to transform Pakistan into a true Islamic welfare state with the focus on overcoming foreign debt, austerity, reforms in institutions, eradication of corruption, retrieving the money stashed abroad.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has formed an Economic Advisory Council containing leading business and economic experts to better manage the economy of the country. He has promised to create 10 million jobs by boosting economy and to construct five million new homes for the people. Peoples have very high expectations from new governments as new government have made lofty promises with the people.
Prime Minister Imran khan is looking fully committed to resolve all the problems which country is facing now but it would be uphill task for him because he and his many party members have no experience to rule institutions at national level.
Although general and economic situation has much improved during the previous government’s tenure but the current government still have to face myriad challenges including ailing economy, foreign affairs challenges, terrorism and extremism, poverty, unemployment, water shortages and others. He is also likely to face tough opposition in coming months from major political parties which have decided to protest inside and outside of the parliament against alleged massive rigging in general elections. These opposition parties have jointly demanded to form parliamentary commission to audit the elections.
As for as the Pakistan and China’s bilateral relations are concerned PM Imran Khan has reiterated his resolve many times to further strengthen bilateral relations.
After the party’s victory in General Election 2018, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) twitter account sent out its first message in Chinese language to emphasize Pakistan and China’s relationship.
The PTI chief had said in that tweet that he would work on strengthening and improving Pakistan’s relations with China. He reiterated to work towards the success of CPEC and to send teams to learn poverty alleviation from China. How to lift our most poor who can’t even eat two meals a day.
In his victory speech, after general election 2018, he said that with China, his government would explore investment under umbrella of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is considered basic plank of China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative and would learn from their expertise on poverty alleviation and corruption control. He reiterated to strengthen and improve relations with China and vowed to work towards success of CPEC.
The ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had declared in its manifesto stated that its government will make Pakistan business-friendly and turn the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor into a game-changer by enhancing bilateral relations.
The government is ready to take CPEC into the next level with the establishment of nine Special Economic Zone under this initiative. Minister for Planning, Development & Reform, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar‏, while reviewing progress on the Special Economic Zones has instructed the authorities to fast-track the processes and to ensure early implementation of this important sector of CPEC. He tasked all stakeholders to complete all processes to ensure groundbreaking of the prioritized Special Economic Zones in the coming three months. These developments reflect that Pakistan’s new government is not oblivious about its responsibilities regarding China Pakistan Economic Corridor and progress on CPEC projects will continue without any hindrance. The Chinese government is also expecting Pakistan’s government to continue smooth implementation of CPEC projects for their timely completion to move forward. It is expected that in coming weeks high level exchanges of top level government officials from both sides will be held which will be help full in further improving working relations between both governments.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship BRI project, is the largest Chinese investment in Pakistan to date. Often termed a game changer, the US$62 billion mega-project involves a huge financial inflow into Pakistan to improve infrastructure, energy and trade development and create many jobs.
CPEC has already started benefiting Pakistan’s ailing economy. Due to the completion of energy projects, country’s severe energy crisis is about to end. Massive infrastructure projects are improving connectivity and new jobs opportunities are being created and economy is growing positively. After the establishment of launching of industrial zones, it is believed that industrialization process in Pakistan will start and it will further strengthen Pakistan economy. Successful implementation of CPEC projects will further increase GDP rate of the country which is currently at 5.8 percent and bring social and economic development in the country. The implementation on CPEC projects will create a win-win situation, and it will bring massive benefits for both countries and the region in future. -Writer is a researcher and journalist working for Independent News Pakistan.