The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be a game changer for Pakistan’s southwest Balochistan province, according to experts.
The observation was made by speakers at a webinar on “Security and Development in Balochistan: Existing Dynamics and Way Ahead” on Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Organized by the prominent Islamabad-based think-tank Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), the webinar discussed bringing peace, prosperity and development in Balochistan by empowering the Baloch people through development projects and governance reforms.
Speaking at the event, Rafiullah Kakar, a development and policy expert from Balochistan, said that CPEC has the potential to be the game changer for Balochistan to uplift the underdeveloped areas and sectors of the province.
Kakar said that the benefit of the multi-billion-dollar project has yet to reach the people of Balochistan in the areas where CPEC projects are still under the process of completion, adding that the Pakistani government should focus on completing the projects in the sooner possible manner to benefit the province and its poor population.
Expressing his views at the webinar, Sanaullah Baloch, a member of the provincial assembly, said that the potential of CPEC ought to be realized “as a way to win the hearts of the common Baloch people”, as it will eventually bring prosperity to the province.
He also termed the project a golden opportunity to address the issues of the people of the poor areas of Balochistan to let them benefit from employment and other financial opportunities offered by CPEC.
Raashid Wali Janjua, acting president of the IPRI, told the audience of the webinar that Balochistan is a province with tremendous strategic and resource potential.
The largely unexplored mineral rich province with a large coastal belt holds tremendous promise for national development as well as strategic connectivity with regional countries, through land and sea routes.
The CPEC is a flagship $60 billion project of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a vast network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes.
The multi-billion dollar corridor connects the Chinese city of Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.