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Political battling vs national interests

This trend is an about-turn, though not by the US, and proves how in the past the US forced European countries to pursue fundamentally wrong strategies. While it proves yet again that history repeats itself, it also points to how power-intoxication induces committing blunders – a fact the US refuses to accept despite the failure of all its invasions beginning 1952.

Courtesy the ‘Arab Spring’ while the Middle East – a huge export market – is now in tatters and the US and the EU find it excessively difficult to produce goods at competitive prices. So the resource-rich and largely stable (unaffected by terrorism that the US interventions nurtured) Central Asian states now seem potential export markets – perception that explains this policy turnabout.Russia – founder of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that was decimated by the after-effects of the US-sponsored Afghan civil war – too has expressed its desire to benefit from the CPEC by accessing the warm water Arabian Sea via this corridor to promote its exports, to materialize one of Russia’s decades-old unrealized dreams.

That India is doing everything it can to stall the CPEC, is no longer in doubt. Besides the tragedies that struck Balochistan in the last two months, the bomb blast at a shrine in Baluchistan just a day before the formal opening of the Gwadar Port and the intrusion of an Indian submarine into Pakistan’s territorial waters on November 14, are undeniable proofs thereof.

Given the destabilising role India (under Modi) wants to play in the South Asia region after entering into “the defining partnership of the 21st century” with the US (whose main aim is to contain Chinese influence in South Asia) and elevation of Donald Trump to the US presidency, Russia’s desire to access the CPEC must be fulfilled to make the CPEC more secure.

That said the issue that needs immediate attention of the federal and provincial governments is resolving both real and politically inspired disputes over the route of the CPEC. But the biggest deficit Pakistan suffers from is a visionary (not self-centered) mindset in its leadership, which is the main impediment to quick completion of vitally important infrastructure project.

While some European countries want to set up industrial units along the CPEC route, ambassador of Norway – country with the second largest investment in Pakistan’s telecom sector – has rightly pointed to the need for making Pakistan a predictable, secure and profitable destination for attracting foreign investment because doubts on these counts are discouraging investment inflows.

The ongoing political infighting in Pakistan may prevent timely resolution of many issues connected with this project about balancing the Chinese and Pakistani interests during the project completion phase and thereafter, which may delay timely completion of the CPEC, and trigger disputes with adverse consequences for both countries.

Besides agreeing on strategic issues, a mega issue is security of the huge Chinese workforce that will work on this project all over Pakistan, the social issues it could give rise to, and devising a mutually-agreed discipline for resolving them amicably. Can our embattled government spare time for discussing these issues with the Chinese government to ensure trouble-free on-time completion of the CPEC?

A B Shahid, "Political battling vs national interests," Business Recorder. 2016-11-29.
Keywords: Political science , Population policy , Foreign exchange , Diplomatic relations , Economic stability , Terrorism , Pakistan , India , Afghanistan , Britain , China , Russia , Central asia , CPEC , OIC , ESD , PTI , UNSC , LOC