CPEC Monthly Monitor – September 2017
Every month, CPEC Watch releases a monthly monitor summarizing key developments occurring around China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Below is the executive summary for September 2017:
As if reflecting the support to CPEC, at least two reports released in September projected a rise in Pakistan’s economy especially auto-sector, mainly due to the CPEC-projects. This is despite the fact that certain crucial transportation projects continue to be delayed. Some reports projected further economic growth and activity. For instance, a report by an authority looking after small and medium enterprises projected 0.25 to 0.5 million rise in the demand of four-wheel vehicles in Pakistan within the upcoming 12 years. Another report, released in September by a monetary committee, noted “manageable inflation” owing to increasing domestic demands emanating from CPEC. Meanwhile, state-run banks in Pakistan and China are showing interest in mutual projects.
Certain projects still lingered. Pakistan railway’s mainline track, the ML-1, connecting Karachi to Peshawar, is to be upgraded. Likewise, not a single of the nine prioritized Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under the CPEC in four provinces has been established. A sort of discord also existed between Sindh and federal governments on Special Incentive Package, which is meant to locate Chinese industries to Pakistan. Sindh’s Board of Investment, espousing the provincial government’s view, has called for reviewing the financing of the package. The federal government thinks the package will accelerate the Chinese investment in nine special zones to be set up under the CPEC.
The old debate of what constitutes the CPEC and who is the main beneficiary continued. The Peshawar High Court has asked the federal government to check if certain developmental projects, especially those along the western alignment, have been included in CPEC. Meanwhile, Sindh High Court officially sought government’s response over why Thar continued to be deprived, despite promises made under the CPEC.
In September, some new promises were made to ensure the security of CPEC projects. Chief of Air Staff said that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) will provide aerial security to CPEC projects, in liaison with other agencies. Meanwhile, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan assured for assisting Pakistan’s civil armed forces in their capacity building for building CPEC. Punjab government has decided to deploy the officials of Special Protection Unit (SPU) at Islamabad/Rawalpindi and Lahore airports to compile the data about visiting Chinese and other foreigners working on CPEC.
To enhance the regional geo-economic connectivity through CPEC, Pakistan invited Tajikistan to join the project. Other countries, like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UK, displayed interest on their own. On Indian front, the situation remained bleak, with Pakistan repeatedly expressing its concerns about India’s alleged involvement in activities meant to sabotage the CPEC.
Read complete “CPEC Monitor – August 2017” (PDF)