Despite dire times and political uncertainty, the nation is hoping against hope for good days. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor is not a simple road project, but an engine of growth for the national economy and that is the eyesore for the enemies of the country. According to the latest reports, China has prioritized a list of infrastructure projects in Pakistan which also include establishment of nine special economic zones. At a time, the government is struggling to save itself from repeated diatribe of the opposition, China is ready to set up various groups of experts in collaboration with Pakistani officials to workout modalities for the establishment of the special zones. China has reportedly asked Pakistan to expedite the formation of its side of groups and devise a mechanism to maintain a long-term cooperation between the two nations. According to a Chinese official, Beijing has already built four special economic zones and is ready to develop 14 industrial zones by setting up the same number of coastal cities in Pakistan. The experts from both countries are working together to follow international standards in the development of cities and industrial zones to attract foreign investment.
Pakistan has a plan to set up at least 46 special industrial zones, but the pace of work on this side of the project is slow and Chinese government is pushing Islamabad to speed up the pace of development. Though China is far ahead in the development of economic zones, it is time for the Pakistanis experts to learn fromthe Chinese experience.The northern areas of the country, including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, are blessed with rare flora and fauna and there is great potential of agricultural and horticultural products for exports.Gilgit-Baltistan,located on the ancient Silk Route,is regarded as gateway for central, east and South Asia, and has also been blessed with gold and pearls and have the potentialto gain much from the economic corridor.The potential investors can set up manufacturing and processing units in Northern Areas to produce value added goods made of minerals, fresh fruits and vegetables, wood, herbs and trout fish. There is need to give incentives to foreign investors to exploit opportunities in the northern sides of the country.
Pakistan needs concerted efforts to revitalize the economy and the Chinese government has offered investment and expertise for the purpose. However, it is yet to be seen how the nation responds to the opportunities knocking its door.