Inclusive urban uplift under CPEC poised to transform Pakistan

June 05, 2023

Arooj Zulfiqar

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has become a catalyst for urban development in Pakistan, offering vast economic growth, infrastructure improvement, and social progress opportunities, said Dr Talat Shabbir, Director of China Pakistan Study Centre at the institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad. Talking to WealthPK, he said, “The CPEC is reshaping our urban landscape by building port cities, constructing infrastructure, establishing special economic zones, and transferring technology. Sustainable and inclusive urban development under the CPEC is poised to transform the country, fostering economic prosperity and improving the lives of its citizens,” he said.

“One of the key aspects of urban development under the project is the revitalization of infrastructure. Inadequate transportation networks, power shortages, and outdated facilities have hindered Pakistan's progress for years,” he said. “However, the CPEC has brought significant investments in road networks, ports, airports, and energy projects. The Gwadar Port construction and Karakoram Highway upgradation have opened new trade routes, boosting economic activity and regional connectivity,” he pointed out.

“Pakistan offers a vital route of transportation to both China and Central Asia. A reasonable and affordable mode of transportation for commodities connecting the Arabian Gulf, Central Asia, and China is provided by the newly-constructed and updated motorway network,” he said. “Additionally, several energy projects, including coal-fired and renewable energy plants, have helped alleviate Pakistan's energy crisis, ensuring a reliable power supply for urban centres,” said Dr Talat.

“In addition to Gwadar, other cities such as Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi are also witnessing transformative urban development. The establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in these cities aims to attract foreign investment, stimulate industrial growth, and create job opportunities,” he said. “These SEZs offer state-of-the-art infrastructure, and a favourable business environment, making them attractive destinations for local and international businesses,” he added.

While urban development under the CPEC brings immense opportunities, it also faces challenges that need to be addressed. The challenges include ensuring equitable distribution of resources, mitigating environmental impacts, and maintaining transparency in project implementation. Efforts should be made to engage local communities, seek their input, and address their concerns to ensure sustainable and inclusive development.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk