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Assessment of Social Political and Economic Dimensions of CPEC: An Integrated Approach.

Byline: Umbreen Javaid and Muhammad Iqbal Chawla

Introduction

Throughout Pakistan's 70 years long history of rough voyage of statehood, the main factor that has gone about as a constant in the domain of provincial and worldwide undertakings is the famous fellowship with China. Today, China-Pakistan relations incorporate a wide scope of fields from scholastic to military to collaboration in atomic innovation and exchange. Of more noteworthy significance for understanding the elements of this all-climate fellowship is the topic of what really made this steady sincere relationship restricting conceivable particularly in our current reality where domain is overwhelming. A superior comprehension of the factor(s) that drove the two nations towards this everlasting companionship would be useful in anticipating the future direction of the two -sided relations.

The Belt and Road Initiative is China's great plan of bringing some 65 plus states closer for greater global cooperation and interdependence. It has precipitated as the primary focus of the Xi Jinping regime. The Chinese government has taken a lot of pain in introducing the project as a peaceful, exclusive economic venture aimed at imparting the benefits of China's unprecedented growth to less developed countries. It is, according to the Chinese government, not part of any political or military score settling matrix rather it embodies win-win principle against the zero sum scenarios. But the Chinese version or narrative on its belt and road initiative is not taken as it is by various international powers that look at China's plans with suspicion and consider it a hegemon.

This suspicion and the magnitude of stakes and interests the project encapsulates has created a new global division on the role of China in future international politics. A war of narratives and research writings has already ensued taking sides with either the Western perspectives or projecting the Chinese narrative. Amidst all this, Pakistan has been accorded a significant rather central role in the grand design as CPEC has been termed as the flagship project of the grand design. This makes very critical to comprehend Chinese interests, state conduct, and key impulses from Pakistan's perspective.

China Pakistan Relations at a Glance:

China Pakistan relations have proverbially been an "all whether friendship". A remarkable mutual understanding characterizes this friendship. Pakistan acting rationally extended warm wishes and positive attitude to the new regime of progressive China, in spite of the fact that Pakistan had a clear tilt towards the American drove coalition. Pakistan turns into the main Muslim and third non-socialist nation to acknowledge the socialist system in China and set up formal relations. Pakistan moved significantly further and PIA turned into the 3rd first air passenger and cargo carrier to begin its flights to China.

The Pakistani decision to plunge its weight in favor of the communist China that had clear strong bonds with USSR, the very country against whom Pakistan was part of defense arrangements under the auspices of U.S.A, proved the most valuable and precious decision in the country's history. The peaceful border settlement with the China in 1962 further brought the two countries closer and created positive and friendly feelings in hearts of the Pakistani people. Pakistan su8pported China's inclusion into United Nations and always stood with the China on key strategic issues.

Today the narrative of this correspondence has transformed into a multi-billion-dollar relationship in fiscal terms and at the inside dimension, the two countries are considered as "one Unit" as the two states stretch out unrestricted help to one another. In any case, this smooth train of events isn't that much smooth. At global level Chinese ascent to the world political stage isn't a development seen as positive. Scholars have questioned the Pakistan-China relation and especially India perceives it as threat.

From an inside perspective the two countries have little in common. Pakistan bears a deep religious imprint owing to its unique historical baggage, while china has strong Marxist/communist bent. Thus religion which is a hall mark of Pakistani society and Marxism, generally equated with anti-religious movements, an inherent feature of revolutionary china are very hard to reconcile. Political, social, and cultural differences are additional factors with potential to act as irritants. These inherent differences and intrinsic irritants leave the relationship of the countries more vulnerable to malignant ventures of rival powers. This analysis intends to take into account the overall situation of the relationship between the countries, challenges in the wake of changing strategic and global political landscapes with a focus on necessary adaptations in required areas. It also intends to include analysis of threat perceptions of opposing powers and remedies.

Pakistan itself is getting the greatest ever Chinese FDI when it is going through a very troubled politico-economic situation. The study is focused principally at assessing Pakistan's readiness to reap fruits of wider cooperation with rising China in the backdrop of modifications in its political, monetary, and social spheres.

Background of the Problem

The current CPEC venture is the manifestation of deep relations. Though in terms of progress both countries share little with Pakistan at receiving end, but the venture provides hope for Pakistan. Without cautious planning Pakistan may end up as client state.

Objectives of the study

The Study will be performed by accomplishing these goals:

- To situate CPEC domestic and regional context

- To evaluate the political dimensions of CPEC for Pakistan

- To examine the financial and economic benefits of CPEC

- To evaluate social and cultural consequences of CPEC for Pakistan

Literature Review

The literature on the China-Pakistan economic corridor has organically grown since the announcement of China's global ambitions under the cover of One Belt One Road initiative. The exponentially growing number of articles, opinion papers, editorials, seminars, and research works will be thoroughly analyzed in this section.

The Chinese official narrative seeping out in the shape of official statements and media outlets focuses on the positive projection of China's One Belt One Road initiative. Statements issued by the National Development and Reform Commission of Peoples Republic of China (NDRCPRC, 2015) has strongly emphasized on taking the Chinese initiative as a step to further integrate into the global economy and share the benefits of its developmental experience. According to the commission, the chinses policy is designed to enhance global cooperation for fair global development. The Commission emphasized on the five principles of shared admiration for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual pacifism, joint non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and benefit, and peaceful cohabitation.

The report of Commission is an important document that provides insight into China's official stance with respect to the globally held perceptions about its global ambitious plan (Swaine, 2015). Sheng (2015) takes the same line of argument.

(Bajwa, 2002) has discussed the BRI and also thinks China will continue to be peaceful. According to Clemens Morgan (2015) predicts a Chinese military buildup because of expanding Chinese interests leading to its assertiveness. (Clemens, 2015).

Len (2015) have studied the Chinese ambitious OBOR initiative from a very important perspective. The writers have adopted a different approach and have analyzed the project from the standpoint of the potential impact of improving multimodal transport connectivity on multilateral trade and economic growth and found a positive relation between both. Their study supports China's OBOR as a multi model transport connectivity project.

Bunce (1999) has analyzed CPEC in a very detailed manner and charted out 11 objectives of China and 10 objectives of Pakistan hinged on the China-Pakistan Economic corridor considered as the flagship project of China's ambitious One Belt One Road Initiative.

Taninecz (2017) work is also focused on analyzing the impacts of China Pakistan Economic Corridor on Pakistan and the benefits the People's Republic of China will get out of this multi-billion dollar project. The writer has pointed out a number of barriers and implications for the state of Pakistan ranging from Chinese dominance and interference in internal affairs to systemic imbalances and confusions at the policy execution level.

There is no dearth of literature on China Pakistan relations and its repercussions on regional and international political order. Most of the recent literature is either categorically in support of or opposed to the fast track economic integration and political alignment of China Pakistan. Hardcore Realists, intellectuals from the western camp and exclusionist nationalist writers from the Indian paint the project in black (Adikari, 2012; Bajwa, 2012; Gertz, 2002). Studies supporting China portray a win-win situation. The literature, however, appears to ignore the third dimension pointing out adjustments that would evade misperceptions about the project which mainly involves Pakistan's proactive role. These adjustments need to be pointed out in an integrated way covering political, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of Pakistani society.

CPEC Situational Analysis

CPEC is a venture which was set up on 22 May 2013 and it has not turned out all of a sudden. This task had been under discussion from the time, Mr. Pervez Musharraf was driving the government of Pakistan. Pakistan needed a superior outcome in the state of an immense investment, as China was thinking about this as an exemplary alternative. At first, the responsibility of Gwadar port was given to states like Singapore yet the appropriate result was not seen.

In late 2015, the port was authoritatively rented to China for a long time of 43 years. China allotted a colossal estimate of 45 Billion dollars for this project. A share of this amount would be expended on Gwadar port and the rest of the sum was to improve power sector.. Gwadar port was formally initiated on 14 November 2016 and the first convoy was seen off by General Raheel Shareef (Former COAS Pakistan).

The projected $45 billion ascended to $60 billion. For Pakistan it was a new life line. Remote investment, in the state of CPEC, thumped the entryways and Pakistanis, who were suffocating in the hellfire of psychological warfare and who were flopping monetarily, hailed the initiative.

Then here question raised is what monetary effect CPEC has created? Gross domestic product development rate was underneath 4% when PPP left the government in Pakistan. Following five years of PML-N, during which CPEC ended up in operational government, today economy of Pakistan is developing at the rate of 5.79%. Karachi Stock Exchange has likewise turned out to be one of the greatest stock trade showcases in Asia. Gross domestic product surpassed 300 billion dollars out of the blue. Asian development bank, IMF and numerous other prominent organizations foresee that Pakistan would wind up 25th biggest economy of the world in right around two decades to the present era in terms of apparent GDP, and regarding GDP-obtaining power equality, she at present stays at 25th position and following two decades, she can reach the eleventh position.

Does further discussion lead to an estimation of any huge improvement in transport area? The poor infrastructure in Pakistan will receive support from china. The Lahore orange train, Lahore, Peshawar Metro lines are expected to improve the transportation issue of a large number of individuals (D. Ismail and K. Chris, 2018).

The projects in karachi like circular road will improve transport facilities in karachi (S. A. Sajjad, 2018). Quetta mass-travel framework has likewise moved toward becoming a piece of CPEC which will stretch out transportation from Quetta city to inside Baluchistan. A railroad track of 1059 Kms will be laid from Havelian to Kashgar, China. Motorway venture is nearly finished up till Havelian and now railroad track will be laid. Havelian will likewise be made a dry port and it will cost $40 million. The development is going on and soon dry port will be operational. A 1600 Km long High-speed railroad line from Karachi to Peshawar is also in the pipeline. Moreover, Mansehra motorway stretches out from Burhan to Shah Maqsoodan near Haripur. From that point, it will be additionally taken ahead to Battal, etc. A large network of roads can be seen from coastal highways to silk roads in northern areas.

Multan motorway is also an extension of this system along with connecting to Karachi-Hyderabad motorway via road network from Punjab to Sindh as a backbone of the state.

CPEC proudly adds to the energy sector of the country to balance the energy crisis and financial status. This segment has dependably acted like a dull pony which mends its injuries for time being and afterward abruptly surrenders before the requirements of the country. Deficiency of power has ascended to 4000 MW in summers, as its, the pinnacle time, in spite of the fact that Neelam-Jhelum venture is finished in addition to the Coal control plant venture is additionally useful however let's see which ventures are finished up till now. Sahiwal Coal Power Project is finished with an introduced limit of 1320 MW. It had assessed the cost of more than one billion dollars. Hydro China Dawood and Sachal wind control advancement venture have likewise been finished with a limit of 50 MW. Another 100 MW wind control venture is finished and adding to the national matrix. It is developed in Jhimper,Thatta. The task was finished at the expense of 257 million dollars.

Quaid-e-Azim sun-powered park is another task which goes under the umbrella of CPEC. It has an absolute limit of 1000 MW and the undertaking is propelled in Bahawalpur. It is known to be the World's Biggest Solar Park. Despite all, just 100 MW limit is created, as the rest of the work is yet to be done.(CPEC Government Official, 2019.) There are numerous other power ventures, on which improvement is going on and their rundown is as per official index of the Government of Pakistan and CPEC official website.

Amid the residency of this government, another hydropower venture has come to its finishing. It is constructed in Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir. Neelum-Jhelum hydropower venture is the undertaking created by Pakistan, with the assistance of China, as it was not part of CPEC. The undertaking was begun in 2008 and is excessively expensive from the figure at which it was first agreed upon and evaluated. It cost right around 515 Billion Rupees. Barring Neelam-Jehlum; every other venture will be completed through CPEC. A significant part of the power age assets will come in the future. Pakistan ought to have concentrated much on these activities in spite of doing whatever else yet it is accounted for that because of the multifaceted nature of the assignment, clearly such ventures do require some serious attention.

As indicated by finished power ventures we can see that a limit of 2500 MW or more has been added to a national matrix which is less, as a contrast with the genuine power deficit in the nation. Pakistan needs just about 3000 MW more vitality to address the issue of its capacity. Different undertakings of CPEC like the establishment of fiber optics and EWS (Early Warning System for Pakistan Meteorological Department) are under development however not completed yet.

Having a glance over affiliated projects and contributions we may see that what amount of occupations CPEC has delivered yet? As indicated by Govt. of Pakistan a huge number of occupations have been made through CPEC and additionally it is quoted by CPEC official website that tremendous measure of individuals is working in CPEC ventures. However, this question will dependably stay there that the amount CPEC has added to ease unemployment from Pakistan. CPEC acted like an actual existence line to Pakistan as she was battling with her frail economy. This task has certainly contributed a lot to the economy of Pakistan and will contribute in the future. Power and water supply are as yet a major issue of Pakistan. Assessment of Social, political and Economic dimensions:

Generalized understanding of CPEC provoked to study the unavoidable future of Pakistan in three dimensions in particular i.e. social, political and economic. This assessment will lead to new dimensions of analysis and research in future. If CPEC is now a lifeline for Pakistan economy then we could not neglect its oxygen status for China and regional development. Following calculated assessments may clear the view.

Political Assessment:

Due to ethnic tensions, poverty, and illiteracy political situation in Pakistan has remained grim leading to infightings and disagreements among factions. Luckily most of political factions support the CPEC, a rare consensus in the country's history (Ahmadand Mi, 2017). Political stability and security are key factors for success of CPEC. Both nations have inward securities, and particularly Pakistan is confronting the brunt of the fanaticism and psychological oppression. From Xinjiang to Baluchistan there are many insurgent groups with diverse interests and backgrounds but disrupting CPEC has become their common goal. The involvement of foreign actors cannot be ruled out as well who fish in the troubled waters. To ensure the security of the worker, Pakistan military has made an additional force to ensure the security of CPEC.

The genuine security threats are furthermore emanating from the border areas of Afghanistan, which provide a safe hideout for the militant outfits anti-Chinese and anti-Pakistan motives. These hideouts play a crucial role in disrupting the progress of the CPEC projects (Qureshi, 2015). Many other issues need focus in assessing CPEC with apolitical eye regarding Pakistan. CPEC is a sound and safe investment of China with 95% surety of security as per Pakistan Navy's support for the security of the project by creating Taskforce-88(Shahzad K.and Khan F.Z., 2017). This security measure may attract foreign relations to higher nodes of joint collaborations and serving each other to their friendship to advanced level. Successful CPEC may help to control India's proxy war against Pakistan in Afghan terrains and borderline areas (Ostrom, 1977). As strong politico-economic relation in lieu of the CPEC and trade agreements with the least burden of tariff and taxes may lead to peace in the region.

These politico -economic relations will settle down if strong footings would be available to political notches inside and outside the state.

If looking on the internal side of the state, Strong political settlement and united strength may lead to settling down interprovincial prejudices and issues of rights' fight. As CPEC with unique infrastructural features is touching all provinces and serving them equally with industrial parks and projects with a road network passing through all provinces in three routes i.e. eastern, central and western(CPEC Government Official, 2019). Peace in balochistan remains a key challenge to date. The insurgents there have resorted to violent tactics and have attacked key installations of gas fields, transportation, and Chinese specialists were mercilessly killed only to communicate that Baloch people are aggrieved and want their due share. They are bent upon subverting the project. By acclimating with hardships in the path of CPEC and with political unity trust deficit alleviation can be done with the country and on the global stage too.

As political harmony not only within the stakeholders but with all participating countries, either directly or indirectly, may increase the worth and efficiency of the project with better trust-building efforts(Zelikow, 1994).

Economic Assessment:

CPEC embodies the extreme danger to neighboring countries in the area, particularly India. The gulf countries especial U.A.E also feel threatened in terms of economy as the CPEC and the Gwadar appear to offer more cost effective routes and facilities snatching the Share of U.A.E ports. (Malik, 2019). Despite the fact that India and Iran have likewise started the new Iranian port of Chabaharin a bid to counter the Gwadar port, Iran has acted rationally has recommended that both Chahbahar and Gwadar will supplement one another. India contributed the Chabahar port intensely, yet stays still unsure with just two billets at Chahbahar, while Iran has just welcomed China and Pakistan to take an interest too.

Chahbahar additionally expects to give simple access to landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia for vitality imports originating from the Gulf milieu just as a way to the more expanded region. China has shown various concerns regarding the overall environment including the power sector crisis in Pakistan, law enforcement issues, law and order situation, and the evaluation, disbursement and utilization of funds mechanisms pertaining to the energy generation projects of China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The seaports, roads, and Freeways are another incredible accomplishment of CPEC. The venture will improve Pakistan's foundation association with all sub-areas in Asia, between Europe Asia and Africa well-ordered and will complete all speculation and exchange hindrances for the production of a sound business condition inside the area and in every related country. After the completion of the venture, Pakistan will wind up modernized and will spread out the business sectors for the fabricated item.

The financial and work development rate will grow consequently. The CPEC and the development time frame from 2014 to 2030 have incorporated association with the Chinese One Belt One Road, and an expansion of Chinese proposed 21st century Silk Road activity. The CPEC ventures have been separated into three stages: The Short-term venture is assessed to be finished till 2017; a Mid-term venture by 2025; Long term venture 2030.

The satisfactory quality workforce is likewise tasked on trial to keep up a high level of magnificence and on-time completion of the CPEC project. The nature of work power can assume a key job, which relies upon preparation, instruction, physical make-up, and wellbeing, work quality must be reckoning Pakistan as the tenth biggest nation work drive but the management of workforce yet needs advancement for proper benefits. A special focus and result oriented investment on the human capital with appropriate trainings and skill development will obviously leave a positive impact on the overall project-results.

Development of many industrial parks along with the route of the CPEC may attract foreign investors for secured and productive investment (DAWN, 2019). Energy projects under CPEC may add 10,320 MW to the energy sector by 2025 (CPEC Government Official, 2019). With a lot of energy, mining, industrial and infrastructural projects a lot of employment opportunities will be created to reduce unemployment ratio of not only labor but educated class too which is dilemma of the time in Pakistan.

The issue of employing local labors in the projects has been creating much debate over the benefits of CPEC. Many writers and commentators have contended that the project is giving employment to China and not to the much deserving poor Pakistani population. There should be a clear policy outlined about the ratio of employment. Local people must be given priority in recruiting employs for CPEC related projects.

Cultural Assessment:

Such vast investment in billion dollars in Pakistan from China under CPEC would definitely create impact. An large influx of Chinese investors and people will create cultural tensions (IPS, 2019).Cultures of both countries are completely contradicting with regards to religion. China has the greatest skeptical populace; while our way of life has severe religious qualities, standard, and more. The CPEC won't just give a way to the transfer of merchandise and different materials but also exchange of social traditions, dialects and convictions in addition to other things. People to people contact would rise. The Silk Road in the obsolete world prompted the transmission of Manichaeism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. Buddhism itself touched Chinese borders through the Silk Road. The explorers experienced diverse religions and afterward conveyed them back to their very own local grounds. Differing social orders were shaped all through Eurasia.

The present time Silk Road is the recovery of the old Silk Route. In the meantime, the positive part of the coordinated efforts could be the fast-approaching transmission of information and new advancements which is unquestionably a wellspring of advancement and development. Between social correspondence results in expanded business, innovative development, and participation. Chinese have gained extraordinary progress and development in a previous couple of years. Henceforth, they remain as the best case for us (Malik, 2019). English Chinese language would further lessen the worth of Urdu language in Pakistan as people are eager to learn Chinese to have goof trade and bilateral ties for progress in economic and political sectors. CPEC master plan also has the aim to broadcast Chinese productions to Pakistani channels or with an extra channel in Urdu dubbing in Pakistan to have a true cultural impact on the ordinary public (Malik, 2019).

Furthermore, inter-cultural marriages would be promoted as many advertisement commercials shows such ideas and wholehearted welcome in societies. Everything has two impacts either positive or negative so CPEC may results in both sides as per assessment as there is no harm in adopting worth habits and advancement of neighboring cultures (Niazi, 2017). Pakistani and Chinese culture contradicts sharply in food habits as there is a strong notion of halal and haram food in Pakistan absent in Chinese society. In terms of market enhancement and tourism promotion Pakistan economy will further strengthen. We as a nation-state need to comprehend the way that advancement lies in embracing and saving one's very own way of life instead of falling prey to the impact of other social qualities which are in opposition to that of theirs while picking just the helpful practices.

As on the other view, there is a risk to our hundreds of years of old protected culture. We are the watchmen and protectors of our own way of life(Ahmad and Mi, 2017).

Conclusion

CPECP is bound to create massive positive impacts on various dimensions of Pakistani society. The project is seen as a win-win scenarios indicated by Sun Weidong the Ambassador of China in Pakistan, while he was discussing the CPEC, that the project will be inclusive benefitting common people. He further declared that CPEC isn't constrained to only a street rather it willa network of motorways and railways. It will improve the living standard, trade, banking, industry, and economy in the country which in turn will put an end to political instability that has impeded development. The energy crisis has plagued the industry and business in Pakistan which will also be solved as Projects with Chinese help would begin delivering power by 2017 and maximum by the end of 2025.

It is worth noting that owing to the volatile security situation, and the involvement of rival powers in subverting the CPEC Pakistan army should be given some extra space till the project is completed. There is a need of wise understanding of the project with an eagle eye to save Pakistan's economy with the support of all-weather-friend China.

Notes and References

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Niazi, Z. (2017, June 12). CPEC socio-cultural Impact.

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CPEC Government Official. (n.d.). Progress Update | China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Official Website. Retrieved April 20, 2019, from http://cpec.gov.pk/progress-update

Quo Dan Taninecz, (2017). The China Pakistan Economic Corridor: Indicator of Chinese Strategic Energy Goals and a Challenge to the Open Procurement Status, Miller Jackson School of International Studies University of Washington, Seattle Washington.

DAWN. (2019). PM Imran presents proposals for expansion of BRI | The Express Tribune. Retrieved April 26, 2019,

Dilawar Ismail, and Kay Chris. (2018). China's Billions Are Set to Revive Pakistan's Dilapidated Railways - Bloomberg. Retrieved April 20, 2019,

IPS. (2019). 'Cultural impact of CPEC on Pakistan' - Institute of Policy Studies. Retrieved April 26, 2019, from https://www.ips.org.pk/cultural-impact-of-cpec-on-pakistan/

Ostrom, C. W. (1977). Evaluating Alternative Foreign Policy Decision-Making Models. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 21(2), 235-266. https://doi.org/10.1177/002200277702100203

Qureshi, A. H. (2015). China/Pakistan Economic Corridor: A Critical National and International Law Policy Based Perspective. Chinese Journal of International Law, 777-799.

Shahzad Khurram, and Khan F.Z. (2017). Task Force 88: The guardian of sea lanes. Retrieved April 24, 2019, from https://nation.com.pk/28-Jan-2017/task-force-88-the-guardian-of-sea-lanes

Syed Ali Sajjad. (2018). Karachi Circular Railway: a project with many benefits | The Express Tribune. Retrieved April 20, 2019, from https://tribune.com.pk/story/1669265/2-karachi-circular-railway-project-many-benefits/

Zelikow, P. (1994). Foreign Policy Engineering: From Theory to Practice and Back Again. International Security, 18(4), 143. https://doi.org/10.2307/2539180

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Husain, K. (2017). Exclusive: CPEC master plan revealed. Dawn.com.

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