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Road Networks, Development And CPEC – OpEd

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For Pakistan, CPEC is a game changer and it will bring prosperity to Pakistan. It will be a big boost for Pakistan economy. First of all transport and communication sector will flourish. The network of roads and railway tracks will benefit both the investors and public to communicate more efficiently. CPEC projects will help to counter energy and power related issues in Pakistan

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The CPEC is a flagship $62 billion project of Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe via roads and railway networks. China Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC) connects Kashgar city of China with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Baluchistan.

If we talk about province Baluchistan here, we can clearly predict that CPEC will give lots of economic and social benefits to locals of Baluchistan. These projects will create lots of job and business opportunities for youth and it will somehow overcome unemployment related problems of Baluchistan. 

Social and economic activities have picked up in Baluchistan due to the construction of road networks under CPEC projects. Local citizens have started to open hotels, restaurants, shops and houses along the completed portions of the CPEC. With the construction of the western route of CPEC, property value has gone too high in these areas where roads have been completed. 

Everyone admits the fact that the CPEC has the potential to put Baluchistan on the road to swift development.  Once Gawadar port will be developed and will start to function completely then this port would be a game changer for the province. It is envisioned that Gwadar would be transformed into an economic hub and it will contribute massively towards the development of the whole province.

If we talk about the road networks, Baluchistan government has speed up its efforts to complete 134-km long Quetta-Ziarat highway by June 2023 to provide better transportation and communication facilities to the citizens.

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As many as 79% work on motorways and 68% on highways have been completed on eastern and western routes of CPEC. The common alignment for all the three eastern, western and central routes including 790 km road from Khunjerab to Burhan and 193 km road from Hoshab to Gwadar has been completed already.

On the other hand, the western route of CPEC starts from Islamabad to D. I Khan, then D. I Khan to Quetta, and from Quetta to Gwadar. Excluding the common alignment, the total length of this route is 1,714 km. Out of which 68% has been completed while 32% is under construction.

The very important link of the western route of CPEC is D.I khan to Zoub and Quetta which is 540 km patch. This patch is under construction which is expected to be completed by 2024. After the completion of this patch of motorway the western alignment will be completed also. The rest of the western alignment patches including Quetta to Surab, which is 235 km, and from Surab to Hoshab, which is 449 km, is also operational. 

Likewise, connectivity projects include the 19 km 4 lanes East Bay Expressway Gwadar which is near completion. It will link Makran Coastal Highway N-10 to Gwadar Port. Those under construction are Zhob-Quetta, Kuchlak (N-50), Khuzdar-Basima Road (N-30), Hoshab – Awaran Road Section (M-8), Nokundi-Mashkhel Road, Awaran-Khuzdar Road Section (M-8), Up-gradation of D.I. Khan (Yarik) – Zhob, N-50 Phase-I, Mashkhel-Panjgur Road and Quetta Mass Transit. 

There are various evil elements also exist who have always opposed development in Baluchistan. They are also opposing and targeting CPEC with fake propaganda and creating a sense of negativity in people of Baluchistan about CPEC.  More road networks, power plants, industrial projects, job creation, educational institutes and hospitals to meet the needs of local people can be the best reply to the propaganda of enemies.

Remember, CPEC is the future of Baluchistan in the same way as Baluchistan is the future of Pakistan.

Ahsan Zaheer is a freelance journalist and Islamabad based analyst.

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