ISLAMABAD: In order to promote domestic harmony and ensure equitable opportunities of economic uplift for all the regions from what is generally considered as a game changer for the country — the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor — all the provincial capitals would be nodes of the corridor.
The Planning Commission claims that all the provincial capitals — Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta — are “the agreed nodes” of the Economic Corridor.
Although, many still do not know about the routes of the corridor, the Planning Commission in its official website made it clear that the corridor will integrate all the provincial capitals into the economic mesh. It adds that the corridor would help in consolidation at national level and it will also contribute to regional integration, harmony and economic development.
It also says that the corridor would take the less developed areas like Gilgit-Baltistan, Thar and Gwadar regions into the folds of active development. Dispelling the impression that the corridor would be the name of one single road, the Planning Commission says, “Gwadar, the gateway of CPEC, will serve multiple domestic and trans-national destinations through network of roads/railways and air/sea links.”
About the economic nodes of the corridor, the Planning Commission earmarks Khunjerab, Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, Sukkur, Karachi, Quetta and Gwadar, thus making it a net covering almost all the regional centres and the entire country.
Although, different major roads, highways and expressways would be built and upgraded to complete the gigantic project in the years to come, the under-construction Peshawar-Karachi Motorway would be the key part of the corridor. The Peshawar-Karachi Motorway project, which was started over 20 years ago, is now being built from Multan to Karachi and is expected to be completed in a few years time.
Overall, the Pak-China Economic Corridor framework would be completed in 2030. The short-term outcome of this framework is focused on power production and Pakistan is expected to double its power production by 2025.
Under the same project, the Gwadar Port would be built as a leading port in the region to serve as the gateway of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The Economic Corridor would also encompass several special economic zones to be built along the routes of the CPEC.
Such is the promising future of this corridor for both Pakistan and China that India has become upset not merely because of the possible economic gains by the two countries but also due to the strategic importance of this project, signed and launched during the recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan.
Connected with the same project, agreements and memoranda of understanding of around US$45 billion worth were signed between the two countries.