C-PEC is one branch of $50 billion for Pakistan from the nearly one trillion dollars ‘investment tree’. It’s all due to China’s investment-friendly philosophy. Fortunately, this came as the privileged bounty for Pakistan due to the latter geostrategic location and time tested Pak-China friendship.
The supporting stance of Pakistani military and civilian bureaucracy regarding C-PEC is a source for boosting Pakistan’s economy. It can acts as a game changer for the new emerging markets, which bear sizeable for investments and trade.
The role of bureaucracy in Pakistan is somewhat complex. Most of the government’s decisions and resolutions depend upon and are implemented by different bureaucracy’s layers. Policy success depends on efficiency, capacity, and capability of these tires of bureaucracy as protector of state interests.
It is imperative to highlight the main discord areas between C-PEC and multilayer bureaucracies of Pakistan. They are as follows:
1. The debate is on centralized bureaucratic structures, administration and policy making on C-PEC.
2. Security of C-PEC route.
3. The politics of “exclusive control” over C-PEC.
4. “The Punjab Centric” accusation.
5. Lack of clear lines of responsibilities and co-ordination among different ministries. 6. Not meeting the time schedule.
Some measures should be taken by the bureaucracies in the successful implementation of C-PEC. Firstly, there is an acute need to find concrete steps to shed trust deficit among provinces of Pakistan and bureaucratic infighting. There should be correction in national narrative of Pakistan.
Sadly, corruption is one of the main cause of which Pakistan’s suffering badly, and the recent gift from China of C-PEC is also bearing the ill effects. As regards C-PEC bureaucracies of Pakistan and China should work out plans to execute together. As road projects are concerned, Pakistan has consulted firms in public sector which will supervise the construction projects efficiently. WAPDA is suitable for consultancy of power projects. Therefore there is requirement of many technocrats and specialists to supervise the C-PEC project. If bureaucracies of China and Pakistan work jointly all phase of completion of project will work in time and resources.
Without an iota of doubt, Indian as well as externally sponsored terrorism is presently distorted narrative of Pakistan. Terrorist activities are now as strategic choice for eliminating Pakistan. Therefore there is an urgent need for healthy engagement with all neighbors. Pakistan has to settle issues with Afghanistan and Iran.
Emphases should be to create and establish Pakistanis own new industries. A viable industrial development strategy is a prerequisite for economic growth. It is imperative that strategies are evolved that involve appropriate industrial policies as otherwise CPEC will just be a ‘transit’ route with no added benefits to Pakistan.
Bureaucracy has to play its vital role in the implementation of each and every stage of small or mega projects; i.e on the completion of any project, results should be communicated timely. Further, healthy engagement of common people, especially the Blochi youth is essential. Utilization of local people’s talent will add boost to the C-PEC projects. Training them in latest technology would create employment and wean them away from frustration and violence.
As the bureaucratic structure in Pakistan is complex and prone to corruption therefore, frequent inspection of different inception of different projects by the Chinese is essential for successful implementation. Explicit demarcation of job, authority and responsibility with no hazy roles will make the C-PEC successful.
The role of media cannot be ignored in the age of technology. Media, either electronic or print, has to play its responsible role. Knowledge or introduction of any project’s inauguration to the common people for jobs generation should be media transmitted in a positive manner. Avoiding sensationalism and overly negative outlook towards C-PEC projects would tends to jeopardize or delay the projects and create mistrust between Pakistan and China.
CPEC is the culmination of Chinese and Pakistan for major investment. It benefits both countries national interest but this cannot be achieved without consensus among major political, otherwise precise will be wasted. Each level of bureaucracy in Pakistan should be concerned about their specific task and its implementation rather than have an eye on others or to consider one better or belittle others. There should, in addition, proper checks and balances to restrain the unbridled power of bureaucracies.
Last but not least, the government should exert its authority and play its role as effective cleansing the bureaucratic politics of C-PEC. Abbas Nasir suggests that, “the government should convince Balochistan and KP that the ‘P’ in CPEC stands for Pakistan and not for a province that forms the PML-N’s power base.” If this is done, C-PEC would be an epitome of Pak-China friendship and a real “game changer” for the region, ushering peace, progress and prosperity.
The Author is Lecturer, International Relations Department, Faculty of Social Sciences
National University of Modern Languages NUML, Islamabad, Pakistan and can be reached at [email protected]