KARACHI, 28 June 2016: It has not all been clear plain sailing for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but the completion date is close, for what is expected to be a great fillip for the region. The 3,000 km long passage that is built along the Pakistan -occupied Kashmir will enhance connectivity between the two countries. Rail, road, pipelines, and optical cable fiber network will modernize the region and will stimulate trade between China’s Xinjiang province and Pakistan’s Gwadar port. This will pave the way for easier access to China and its Silk Road.
There were some disturbances though and protesters from both home and abroad made their feeling known. In May Chinese workers were attacked by a bomb allegedly by ethnic nationalists. The attack took place in the southern province of Sindh but was a low-intensity explosive. A pamphlet signed by the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army was recovered from the scene of the crime.
The $46 billion project is a core component of the Silk Road initiative, the primary foreign policy goal of China. New trade routes are opening and business between China and Europe has more than doubled in the last year. Local people are suspicious of China’s motives wondering if they will see any tangible benefits. CPEC which seeks to strengthen energy, transport, the Gwadar port and industrial cooperation but will expand to cover finance, science, technology, and education.
“The Belt and Road is great for the country, already thousands of jobs have been created for Pakistani people and with greater transport infrastructure between north and south this will have a positive effect on real estate,” said Saad Arshed, managing director of Lamudi Pakistan—the online property portal. “Travel distances between Kashgar and Lahore will be reduced and similarly Kashgar to Karachi, this will encourage buyers to search in alternative locations”, said Arshed.