K-P and the CPEC

Published: January 7, 2016
If work timelines are not met and there are inordinate delays, the Chinese will eventually cut Pakistan out of its long-term strategic framework. PHOTO: AFP

If work timelines are not met and there are inordinate delays, the Chinese will eventually cut Pakistan out of its long-term strategic framework. PHOTO: AFP

The criticism directed at the way the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is being handled by the federal government has mostly revolved around its design that has tilted towards favouring Punjab and Sindh while putting Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on the backburner of development. In the most recent development vis-a-vis this issue, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal tried calming the provincial government in K-P by holding a meeting at the Governor House in Peshawar. This did little to calm the nerves of officials in K-P, who are convinced the federal government has ignored the province in its development plans. Citing security reasons and the importance of completing the eastern route first, the PML-N government at the centre has alienated the provincial arm of the project, and has done little in terms of handling the situation diplomatically. It is important here that the federal government does not give the impression that since K-P has been plagued by security concerns and is run by a party that sits in the opposition, it makes little sense for the PML-N to pay too much heed to its demands.

So far, little seems to have been done to allay K-P’s fears and satisfy it adequately. This will hurt the prospects of the various projects linked to the CPEC being completed on time. If work timelines are not met and there are inordinate delays, the Chinese will eventually cut Pakistan out of its long-term strategic framework. The project may be important for the Chinese, but it is absolutely crucial for Pakistan, which should derive a host of benefits from it. Political wrangling and cursory diplomatic attempts to calm K-P will not work. As things stand, it appears that Punjab stands to benefit a lot from the CPEC projects and K-P, in comparison, a lot less. Notwithstanding K-P’s demands, the CPEC was never meant to cover the entire country. Its ripple effects were supposed to be felt in all provinces, but to say that all provinces must benefit in equal measure would be akin to hoping for a perfect world. If Pakistan’s history is anything to go by, the party in power usually chooses to invest the most in its stronghold. But a competent government is diplomatic, pragmatic and proficient enough to address concerns popping up elsewhere. Sadly, the PML-N lacks in that aspect of governance.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • HZ
    Jan 7, 2016 - 10:57PM

    PMLN needs to stop acting greedy. Leave political gains aside for Gods Sake Punjab is yearss ahead already in development as compared to other provinces. K-P needs this more badly than Punjab! Its about Pakistan not PTI Pakistan can only progress if all provinces are moving forward hand in hand. I am a punjabi myself but my love for Pakistan is greater than being a punjabi. Recommend

  • Jan 8, 2016 - 4:31AM

    very poorly written editorial,seems written by some PMLN supporter.CPEC is supposed to provide corridor for Chinese trade through Pakistan,for some strange reason the corridor is being made curved to actually pass allp the way through Punjab and Sindh,totally ignoring the other provinces.Why would KPK allow a road pass through its territory if it only benifits Punjab,With no mention of any investment in hydro electric projects which unfortunately cannot be built in Punjab and Sindh,why are going for expensive coal and gas power projets based on imports.Imagine solar power is being invested in ,sounds more a like class six boy science project than serious national attempt at self sufficiencyRecommend

  • Wellwisher
    Jan 8, 2016 - 5:56AM

    If Pakistan’s history is anything to go by, the party in power usually chooses to invest the most in its stronghold.
    That is why it lost East Pakistan. Still they refuse to learn from history.Recommend

  • Muhammad Khan
    Jan 8, 2016 - 8:18AM

    Its a great damage to elect a dishonest government and if its incompetent too at the same time, then its a disaster at the scale of H-Bombs.Recommend

  • Abdullah khan
    Jan 8, 2016 - 11:02AM

    I wrote many time but not accommodated by ET, The fate of CPEC will be like Kala Bagh Dam, not only it weaken the cause of kashmiri struggle but also weakening the Bonds of Federated units and the ideology of Pakistan, Recommend

  • Humza
    Jan 8, 2016 - 7:50PM

    @HZ: CPEC is about Chinese investment and the need of the country would be to get it up and operational as soon as possible. Where would an investor want to set up a trade route is the simple question all need to ask. Why can’t anyone say the obvious? The route going through Punjab and Sind tracks through secure, safe land and already has some facilities for the Chinese. The Western route through Baluchistan and KPK is shorter and will be preferred for that reason over time. But who can doubt the security risk there being so close to the Afghan border and knowing of the activities of Afghan based criminals against the security of Pakistan. When Chuck Hagel says India uses Afghanistan as a base to carry out intrigue against Pakistan, does the nation not worry about defending such a long remote trade route in such an area. Whatever can get the ball rolling is the need of the hour and the ripple down effect will take place when CPEC is secured without scaring away Chinese investors. I am sure all the regional players are watching events closely but the need is for KPK and Baluchistan to see the big picture and not be swayed by Indian propaganda. The economy and jobs will be poised to take off if CPEC can get moving in time.Recommend

  • sterry
    Jan 8, 2016 - 10:46PM

    @Abdullah khan: An economically stronger Pakistan through CPEC will help the Federation and help Kashmiri cause. Kala Bagh Dam has to do with misinformation and people being fooled into thinking it would deprive them of land or water.Recommend

    Jan 9, 2016 - 2:14PM

    @Wellwisher: East Pakistan was lost due to geography…….the other provinces better learn to live under Punjab’s domination or else be ready for indefinite military operation as is going on in parts of KPK, Sindh and Baluchistan……..as Punjab has no terrorists and no corruption……May Allah guide us all….Recommend

  • ibn e insan
    Jan 11, 2016 - 1:11AM

    @ibn e ashfaque.. indian dood dont comment ur biased views. i am from pekhawar. i strongly protest the stupid approach of nawaz and company who unfortunately happened to be punjabi but i love punjabi brothers like my own. so better stop this cap of talking “better live under punjabi domination” i know from heart no punjabi can say such stupid words neither no pukhtun wishes bad for common punjabi brothers..Recommend

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