CPEC – China Pakistan Economic Corridor is part of China’s global connectivity project “One Road One Belt” – a mega infrastructure project that will connect China to numerous huge markets across the globe. CPEC alone makes China able to connect with its Mideast and Eastern Africa and European. This part of the bigger project provides China with trade routes that are far more economical than the rest, along with being an uninterrupted routes free from any US Navel interferences.
This much importance of this project for China’s grand strategic purpose means more importance for Pakistan and especially for regions that these routes are crossing Pakistan: KPK and Balochistan. Alternative railway links proposed connects Gilgit with Shangla and Dargai via Shandor.
These alternative are proposed because Karakoram Highway (KKH) remains closed due to heavy snowfalls and recurring landslides twice or trice a year. However, the proposed routes will provide uninterrupted transportation throughout the year.
CPEC Routes in KPK
KPK government proposed alternative rotes to CPEC’s western alignment ones. These new routes proposed by the KPK government connects Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), that is the entry point of CPEC to Pakistan, to its prized port at Gwadar.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Connecting Pakistan Internationally through CPEC
First route proposed goes through Shandor, Chitral, Chaakdara, Peshawar, Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan, Zhob and Quetta. The second route proposed is linking G-B to Gwadar through Bisham, Shangla, Buner, Katlang, Swabi, Mardan, Peshawar, Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan, Zhob and Qutta.
CPEC Projects in KPK
Energy Projects: a total of seventeen energy projects had been announced by the KPK government as part of the CPEC initiative. It included 1978 mega watts projects in hydel sector in Chitral, along with two oil refinery in Kohat and a transmission line that goes between Chitral and Chakdara in gas and oil sector.
These projects were said to cost around $6,919 million that were to be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Along with these there were other projects undergoing completion through the same means.
These projects included: Sharmai, Jabori, Lawi, Karora, Daral Khwar and Matiltan power projects besides running of canal project and provision of electricity to flood-affected villages of the Chitral district.
Likewise, a 300 megawatts Balakot Hydel Power Project was also initiated and worked upon with the help of ADB. Furthermore, two canal pilot projects were completed with an added solarization of 8000 schools and 182 basic health units, and a 6000 villages solarization all in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank.
CPEC Infrastructure Projects
Seven projects were announced for KPK under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor initiative. These projects included a double rail track between Karachi and Peshawar, a double road and railway line along with optic fiber between Abbottabad and Gilgit. Also an Industrial Estate construction at Hattar, conversion of Peshawar-Dera Ismail Khan road into a double carriage way along with laying a railway track between the two cities. A 120-km long highway that runs between Havelian and Thakot, the Havelian-Thakot Motorway was completed in 2018.
This section of the motorway was an important section of the infrastructure links as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This 120 km section is part of an extended motorway project that passes through Abbottabad, Manshera, Shinkiari and ends at Thakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
This whole project is divided into three packages: Havelian-Abbottabad, Abbottabad-Mansehra, and Mansehra-Thakot. Along with these Khunjerab-Raikot 335 km and a 144 km Raikot-Thakot had also been completed.
Effects of CPEC Projects On the Region
Recounting the achievements of CPEC project the former Chief Minister of the province claimed that Reshakai and Hattar industrial zones that were created as a part of the CPEC were major achievements for the development of the region.
Along with the net of new roads and railway tracks that will not improve the connectivity but invite numerous economic opportunities for the people situated along these new routes of prosperity. Furthermore, he was proud of increasing the power capacity of the province as a result of various power generation projects.
He was most happy for the foreign investments these developments will achieve for the province that will massively change the living standards of the people.
Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs of Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.
According to him terrorism breeds in poverty and underdevelopment and thus with these opportunities and facilities provided to the underdeveloped regions of Pakistan will help combat poverty raising the living standards of the people along the belt and thereby combat terrorism.
Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences said.
And as the bulk of these projects are being developed in Kyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, that are some of the most underdeveloped regions of the country, a visible change in both poverty and thus the resultantly affect on terrorism is said and hoped to be massive.
These changes has already started to manifest itself in the region and hopefully will continue doing so in the future when trade and prosperity starts flowing more routinely through these different projects that are either recently been developed or in their final stages of the being completed.