Pakistani workers work at the Peshawar-Karachi highway, the largest infrastructure project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. (Xinhua photo)
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will bring major changes to Pakistan, said Muhammad Iqbal Chawla, Dean of Faculty of Arts & Humanities at the University of Punjab, Pakistan, on the 7th World Forum on China Studies held in Shanghai from Dec. 10 to 11.
Chawla said the corridor will not only improve local infrastructure, but also create abundant jobs. In addition, it will expand power supply and promote the development of local agriculture, industry, and services.
Security has been a major concern during the construction of the economic corridor. For instance, as a vital province along the CPEC, Baluchistan has long been suffering from separatism and extremism.
Chawla admitted the existence of unstable political and economic factors in the country, adding that external factors also pose a threat, because some countries in the Indian Ocean and Middle East worry that the economic corridor might infringe upon their interests.
However, he believes that solutions to security issues will be found after the completion of the corridor, since it will boost the local economy and create lots of jobs.
As a result, Pakistan will develop into a completely different country that is free from the threat of terrorism and extremism.
According to Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, more than 30,000 Chinese are working in the country. He said security issues threaten the whole region are not exclusive to Pakistan, adding that both governments are closely working together to tackle the problem.
In response to Western criticism on the CPEC, Yao said in an interview with Pakistani media that the project has no hidden agenda and there is nothing to hide.
He explained that the corridor is a bilateral project between Beijing and Islamabad that aims to benefit South Asia and whole world.
Chawla noted at a forum roundtable on Monday that some neighboring countries of Pakistan have been fanning that China will colonize the country, but he believes that China’s investment will not only benefit Pakistan, but also the whole region.
“I believe the whole region would be glad to see India and the US not interfering with our internal affairs and making troubles for the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Chawla told ThePaper.cn.