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Thursday December 02, 2021

Memories of the RCD

January 15, 2016

During the 1960s, the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) pact, which was signed between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, envisioned, among other things, a highway – to be called the RCD Highway. Its purpose was to facilitate trade and commerce between the three countries and advance their economic interests. Both Iran and Turkey completed their portion of the highway. Pakistan, true to form, did nothing. We talked and talked, and talked some more, leaving the highway to its own devices. Half a century on, the highway lies buried in government archives and the RCD is a distant memory.

Fast forward, the CPEC’s ‘game-changer’ mantra assails our senses. Once more there is a lot of talk about the highway. Its alignment has become a bone of contention among provinces, with each province wanting the corridor to pass through its territory. Until the alignment imbroglio is sorted out among the protagonists, the project isn’t going to get off the ground anytime soon. Meanwhile, the long suffering people can content themselves with the mirages of utopias (promised by the corridor) shimmering in the distance.

Farid Nawaz

Islamabad