CPEC Monthly Monitor – February 2018
Government remains optimistic about CPEC amid provincial and regional concerns of tax exemption to a Chinese company and lack of clarity in CPEC projects. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will be formed under the second phase of CPEC industrial development. To ensure the CPEC security, federal government will establish offices of Intelligence Bureau all over Pakistan. China is willing to include Afghanistan in CPEC, meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister proposed linking CPEC to SCO’s six approved routes.
These were some of the key developments occurring in February 2018. 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 February 2018:
- The two-day CPEC cultural caravan festival held in Islamabad helped promote an image of the mega project as a trade and sociocultural connector.
- Government projected CPEC having great potential in promoting regional and global trade. But internally, voices still are raised in small provinces and regions especially Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan, as well as among local industrialists, about one or another aspect of CPEC transparency; the latter, for instance, questioned the rationale of granting tax exemption to a Chinese company or according second priority to local industry.
- CPEC is now entering the phase where Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will be developed. Both sides are now calling for promptly laying them down.
- To avoid long bureaucratic procedures for CPEC-related proceedings, China urged Pakistan for “one-window operation” similar to a free zone in Dubai, where all permissions can be obtained in a week.
- China wants to include Afghanistan and has decided to form a regional forum including Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Pakistan’s Prime Minister also proposed linking CPEC to SCO’s six approved routes.
- A Chinese national was gunned down by some unknown militants in Karachi, on February 2, working for a local shipping firm in a senior position, in what police described as a targeted attack; a passerby was also injured.
- The federal government is planning to establish offices of Intelligence Bureau all over the country. Meanwhile, Punjab government has also asked to conduct security audit of CPEC projects at divisional level.
- Chief Justice of Pakistan called upon all chief justices of high courts to discuss dispute resolution mechanism for the CPEC.
- A report emerged in February that China might be in contact with Baloch militants for CPEC security. But this story was denied by both China and Baloch separatists.Read complete “CPEC Monitor – January 2018” (PDF)