After the PML-N government came into power after the 2013 elections, China – an emerging power – cashed in on the opportunity and rang the door bell of Pakistan to initiate the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is a part of its OBOR venture. PM Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping inked numerous MoUs regarding CPEC.
There is not even an iota of doubt that CPEC can prove to be a “gift horse” as it will further pave the way for Pakistan to become an Asian Tiger – a dream which the current government couldn’t achieve in its previous tenure due to political instability.
The question that now arises is: how can Pakistan earn the title of Asian Tiger in the contemporary era?
Obviously, a stable economy is believed to be a yardstick that we use to measure and calculate a state’s standing in the international arena. It ensures a state’s survival. If we shed light on the past, we will realise how badly affected South Korea was by the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. However, it still took prodigious steps toward introducing economic reforms and now stands in the list of Asian Tigers. Meanwhile, Japan is also considered to be a prosperous country due to its economic sustainability. In addition to this, Turkey also enjoys an influential role in the world on the basis of its economic superiority. It is in a position to look directly into the West’s eyes.
These examples depict that a sustainable economy opens new horizons of success. In the contemporary era, sincere efforts introduced by the government – such as Vision 2025 – suggest that things are looking up for Pakistan after its long, turbulent journey. In 2013, the country’s economy was in declining phase. Pakistan had been considered a failed state by the international media and an unsafe for investment. Now, the entire picture has changed and economic growth in the country is rapidly increasing. According to the World Bank’s report for 2017, Pakistan’s fiscal deficit has shrunk from eight percent to below five percent, International reserves have tripled to over $18 billion and the GDP growth rate is 4.7 percent.
The report further added that the pace of Pakistan’s economic growth will speed up by 5.2 percent in 2017. This depicts that things are moving in a positive direction. In order to achieve the same degree of success as the current Asian Tigers, Pakistan will have to focus more on creating a knowledge-driven economy. Presently, the knowledge-based economy is paramount for progress and prosperity for every country. Moreover, in CPEC, the incumbent government has more opportunities to accomplish its goal of Asian Tiger.
Second, history reveals that the absence of political stability leads to a period of chaos that Pakistan is passing through. Political instability creates major hurdles for development. Meanwhile, the unstable political environment paves the way for foreign elements. They tend to identify the gap, exploit the situation and then create restlessness to give effect to their hidden agendas.
Although stellar efforts have been made, it can be an arduous task for the incumbent government to obtain more benefits from CPEC without a sound environment. The government took numerous steps to muster the support of all stakeholders, including the opposition parties for CPEC. The recently-held OBOR conference is a clear-cut example. The prime minister’s entourage, including four chief ministers, participated the session.
A sustainable economy and a politically stable environment is crucial for the development of country and to achieve the CPEC targets. Economic growth is vital to political stability. Without a peaceful environment, no foreign country will be ready to invest. Foreign direct investment will progressively decrease and affect the economy.
CPEC is considered to be a blessing for Pakistan when the world is passing through a tense stage. It is time that our intellectuals, writers and political elites join hands with the incumbent government to fortify economic growth under CPEC. All political parties should set aside their differences as it is a matter of national interest. They should give a crystal clear message to the world that we all are united. As a result, the world will change its mood, kick-start the negotiations and pour investments into the country and thereby pave the way for Pakistan’s bright future.
Sustainable growth and development in Pakistan under CPEC can assign the country a special status in Asia and the world in a broader context. Consequently, it will be hailed as a model of development for other emerging economies.
The writer works in the Ministry of
Planning, Development and Reform