CPEC Monthly Monitor – October 2017
While CPEC has been hailed for reducing power outages in the country, several local industrialists call for prioritizing them when dealing on CPEC.
Hope continues to be pinned on the impact of CPEC on the economy of Pakistan. As per one estimates, the benefits of CPEC will be three times the national budget. One of the most significant developments has been felt on the energy sector. As of now, five power projects have been completed, credited for eliminating some power outages. Twenty-four others are yet to be completed.
These were some of the key developments occurring in October 2017. The findings have been shared in CPEC monthly monitor, released by CPEC Watch, an initiative of Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think tank.
Every month, CPEC Watch releases a monthly monitor summarizing key development occurring around China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Below are the salient ones for October 2017:
- Results of some CPEC projects are now trickling down. The mega initiative is credited with the drop in power outages in the country; at the same time, many local industrialists are increasingly demanding that they should be given the same privileges as the Chinese investors in Pakistan. Publically sharing the corridor’s details will clarify these issues.
- Several Pakistani industrialists called for prioritizing the country’s own industry first. They feared that the Chinese might be given special incentive packages than the Pakistanis, thereby squeezing out Pakistanis from its own market. A statement by a top Chinese envoy allayed such concerns, but the emergence of such concerns calls for laying down the details in the open.
- Socio-political-wise, the situation is broadly smooth. However, parties in Balochistan still call for prioritizing the western route. A community in Battagram district warned of protest in case they are not compensated as per market rate.
- Inside the region, Afghanistan remained conditionally reluctant to join, albeit conditionally. It says that it will join if it is provided direct access to Indian markets.
- Pakistan remains wary of India on CPEC. When US Secretary of Defense expressed concern that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), of which CPEC is a part, goes through dispute territory, Pakistani officials knew the reference is towards CPEC.
- Inside Pakistan, Mattis’s statement was set aside; meanwhile, members of the GB assembly condemned Mattis’s statement, but also asked the central government to decide about the constitutional status of their area.
October also saw emergence of slight concerns regarding CPEC. A hand grenade attack in Gwadar port that left 26 workers injured. To allay any fears, two new special protection unit were raised, one in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and another in Sindh, while Punjab gave the same task to the already-functional Dolphin forces. These are in addition to the existing forces for the same tasks.