Pak-China initiative: Funds approved for rebuilding Karakoram Highway

Published: July 29, 2011
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Prime Minister Yousuaf Raza Gilani inaugurates Khushalgarh Bridge in Kohat. PHOTO: SANA

Prime Minister Yousuaf Raza Gilani inaugurates Khushalgarh Bridge in Kohat. PHOTO: SANA

ISLAMABAD: 

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has approved funds of $90 million for the reconstruction of a portion of Karakoram Highway (KKH) that was submerged by massive landslides in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) early last year. The credit to repair the strategic highway has been provided by the Chinese government as part of a larger grant for flood reconstruction activities in communication, energy and transport sectors.

According to a handout statement issued by the premier’s media office here on Thursday, Gilani has ordered the authorities in the communication ministry to complete the project as soon as possible. Reconstruction of KKH has been a major priority of the government with the route being of immense strategic significance as well as serving as a historic trade link between the two countries.

Several kilometres of the highway that links Pakistan’s northwest with neighboring China were totally submerged when flooding, triggered by massive landslides in Attabad area of Gilgit-Baltistan, created an artificial lake. Thousands of people were rendered homeless and the only road leading to the Sust border region of China was completely devastated.

Since then, Pakistani authorities have been struggling to settle displaced people and reconstruct the highway through their own financial resources.  As a consequence, the Chinese government has come forward with technical and financial facilities to repair the road – the most viable land route for the country, through which its industrial products reach the global market via sea ports in Pakistan.  Pakistani leadership has asserted that reconstruction of the road would benefit both countries enabling resumption of vital trade links which had been suspended for more than a year. However, it cannot be confirmed as yet whether the National Highway Authority (NHA) alone would be executing the project or some foreign company would be included in the reconstruction effort too.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • rameed
    Jul 29, 2011 - 11:47AM

    Apparently, in this case, Chinese assistance is being provided in the reconstruction of the KKH not because of atruism or that because China’s friendship with Pakistan is “higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the sea,” which incidentally is an empty rhetoric. The assistance is purely for practical reason. Chinese goods need a viable corridor through which to pass and reach their ultimate destinations. In the end, it is all about business and commerce for the Chinese. In short, the accumulation of wealth. Pragmatism and realpolitik have made China the world’s second largest economy in the world, not love or liking for some “all-weather” friends. The affection may not even exist, but merely a facade for the Chinese. Pakistan should not lose sight of this fact and get carried away, just because the US is drifting closer and closer towards India. After, all states, like rational human beings, act in accordance with their own self-interests. There are no permanent friends and enemies, just permanent interests to paraphrase Lord Palmerston.

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  • shany
    Jul 29, 2011 - 8:21PM

    @rameed
    still we shud respect china’s way of being practical. bcz it gives aid and makes friend. if we had USA as neighbour then we cud be there colony and their army instead of aid.. China respect us. In the world where nobody respect us. Even a paki is just like a slave on KSA our second best friend’s main Jeddah Airport. i have seen they throw boarding passes against pakistanis like someone throws bread to hunger on floor .. and all grabbing bla bla goes on

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  • Humanoids
    Jul 29, 2011 - 9:21PM

    rameed
    International relations are always based on economic benefits, be it India-US relations or Pakistan-US relations. Pakistan and China should create a corridor through which goods can be brought into Pakistan to be exported through Gwadar, the ultimate Chinese goal. This will create the much needed employment and an environment of business much needed in the northern areas who feel neglected and are slowly resorting to extremism. The Iran-Pak-China gas pipe line will pass through the same region as well. For Pakistan, it is utmost to have a regional friend, much like India had in the form of USSR. Internationally, if you have good economic and defense deals with a country, you are considered friends. rest its not like the friendship between 2 persons who studied together but more on the lines of mutual interests. Both China and Pakistan cannot let India have economic ball in the region. Recommend

  • Romm
    Jul 30, 2011 - 5:19AM

    @Rameed
    U sound funny. Its mutual interests which dictate foreign relations not love stories like Shireen-farhad and Sassi Punnu. Convergence of interests could shift towards india if indians act on Bill Clinton’s advice to indians about settling issues with pakistan but indians still are haunted by historic deprivation.Recommend

  • M.A.S
    Jul 30, 2011 - 11:30AM

    What depriviation are u talking about?
    No stood with Pakistan but China. Check out the facts before u sit out and talk about the relations or the economic benefits

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  • Shehryar Khan
    Jul 30, 2011 - 1:51PM

    Well in simple what ever you may perceive it as, it is a good thing that both the countries are benefiting. That is how an economy is made, on the basis of intellect and moral not emotions and greed. And in this case, we can see there is a lot of good intellect. Pakistan’s economy is sinking badly, and China can provide cheap alternatives to rebuild the country. Think of the technology Pakistan can import from China. Our government is still a slave to the USA but after the collapse of USA economy Pakistan can start working on a new government which has a joint collaboration with China where trade not aid comes in to play.

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  • Romm
    Aug 1, 2011 - 12:56AM

    I am Surprised, this blog is yet not attacked by indians.Recommend

  • Im not an Indian
    Aug 20, 2011 - 4:57PM

    Indians would think: Both China and Pakistan must perforce project India as a ‘hegemonist’ State with intentions of bossing over the smaller states in South East Asia and the region. This stance has two implications. One is to create a fear psychosis among the adjacent smaller states, and the other is to legitimise interference and even presence of the unipolar power in the region. With 5000 square kilometres of the illegally occupied Indian territory in J&K State gifted away by Pakistan to China, Islamabad boasts of having resolved all border disputes with China. And China has built the Karakoram Highway through illegally occupied Indian territory in J&K State. Yet Beijing portrays India as a hegemonist state and makes the Macmahon line a contentious issue to make incursions into Indian territory.

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