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Travelling on CPEC

"No doubt CPEC is a sensitive issue and it involves months-long, if not years-long, development projects which require careful planning, hard feasibility works and smart piloting"

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) became a familiar name in 2015 when the Chinese president visited Pakistan and unveiled the great gift in the shape of a set of development projects to be executed across Pakistan. Since it has been in headlines for right or wrong reasons but a very few people know that the prosperity corridor was unveiled in Pakistan in 2013. The value of the CPEC projects altogether is $47 billion, which is steadily going up because of the currency value changes. The game-changer blessing has changed many lives in Pakistan and many more are along the lines as by and by the infrastructure is strengthening the economy.

The projects being undertaken in the CPEC are of modern road networks, power projects, and special economic zones. The focal point of the CPEC is Gwadar port which on November 13, 2016, became operational when a Chinese consignment cargo was set off overland to the port for onward shipment to some destinations.

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The reason for taking up CPEC as the topic of my Sunday column is unusual. Recently, I was at a think tank session where most of the participants were talking against the projects.

According to them, the corridor goes through secretive tracks, which otherwise should have been a transparent document.

No doubt CPEC is a sensitive issue and it involves months-long, if not years-long, development projects which require careful planning, hard feasibility works and smart piloting, and the fact is all these established practices are being followed in the preparation and implementation of CPEC projects. CPEC will become a permanent feature for the years to come in Pakistan, and it is a wise advice for the dissidents in Pakistan to comment on the terms of reference carefully. The corridor is a win-win deal for either side.

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The destruction of the riverside hotel in Kalam in the wake of high floods in the River Swat has torn the hearts of the visitors. I hope the whole of Pakistan has seen the footage on social media. In mountainous areas, everything was swept away like straw by the raging flood as bridges in Matta, Sukhara, and Lalko were also damaged. Our reporter from Swat, Adnan Bacha, tells us that the road between Bahrain and Madin has been washed away in flood. Moreover, no parts of Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been spared by direct or indirect impacts of flood. In the days to come, horrible stories of flooding will keep trickling in. No one knows the scale of the disaster so far. After the destruction of infrastructure caused by the flood, the food crisis will strike the country. Crops were destroyed across the country; cattle were swept away. The country faces a huge crisis.

Not only the flood-ravaged people will have nothing, but the cities will also see the effects of the food crisis. Pakistan’s economy is already going downhill. In the current crisis situation, it is necessary for politicians to work together to deal with the devastation of the disaster until the flood is over, and then until the last person affected by the flood is brought back to his home without any political activity; press conferences should not be allowed. This country is not only the responsibility of the rulers but also of all the political parties. Don’t blame others, let’s all play our part in this difficult time. Please, leave political rhetoric behind, and come forward to help the flood victims. Millions of people in all four provinces are homeless and waiting for immediate assistance. Seeing the power of uncontrolled water, people’s hearts are broken. The water which is called life, the water without which life cannot be imagined, the same water has become the instrument of death in Pakistan. The water that is supposed to be the symbol of life is spreading destruction and death in Pakistan.

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