PRESS RELEASE, May 12, 2022
ISLAMABAD: China’s BRI flagship project and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
initiative enjoys complete consensus in Pakistan, and luckily the intellectual elite, the security
establishment and political forces are on the same page. The success of CPEC will change the
face of the region, and usher in new developmental avenues in Pakistan. The Centre-Periphery
module is a unique mechanism wherein China is rapidly on the path of increasing its influence in
the region. This is all owing to China’s centrality in the region, and its consciousness to take
along developing states in the new era of economic interdependence.
This was the central idea of thought-process at the seminar organized by the Islamabad Policy
Research Institute, addressed by Dr Pascal Abb, Senior Researcher, Peace Research Institute
Frankfurt (PRIF) on Thursday (May 12). The theme of the discourse was, “Impact of BRI on
conflict affected states: CPEC and Pakistan.”
Dr Pascal, a German intellectual working on China, observed that obviously there are two
perceptions when it comes to Beijing and BRI, and the most dominating influence is, of course,
that comes from the United States and Europe. But the point is that now Chinese media is
gathering momentum and disseminating the actual perspective and vision of development, which
is across the board.
Talking about the origin of CPEC, it was pointed out that Pakistan and China have a rich
interaction that spreads from Karakorum Highway to Gwadar. It is a good omen that the first
phase of development that concerned power plants and infrastructure is coming full circle; and
has successfully entered into its second sphere of industrialization.
Dr Pascal remarked that CPEC is a local choice of Pakistan, and it has not been pressured into it.
This is why this geo-economic initiative full of bounties, and brings with it strategic dividends.
He also talked about the unrest and opposition to CPEC, especially in Balochistan, by some
quarters and observed that it is owing to lack of proper communication with the locals, and the
unfortunate fact that they have not been taken on board. This needs to be addressed through a
new social contract.
Talking about the slow pace of implementation of the project, it was noted that a host of factors
such as Covid, law and order situation and international interference are responsible for the
delay. It was pointed out that out of nine exclusive economic zones, only three have been addressed, which is unnerving.
President IPRI Ambassador Dr Muhammad Raza said that CPEC came as a jiff of fresh air at a
time when no one was willing to even invest $500million in Pakistan. He said that a staggering
$60 billion investment in infrastructure and development is a game-changer, and will go a long
way in connecting the region as BRI comprises one-third of the world economy.
Amb. Raza said that the way forward interdependence and a collective approach to sail through.