ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a seminar on Tuesday feared that internal and external forces were out to sabotage the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but termed the project a major development in the region and important for the economic growth.

The seminar titled “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Economic, Political and Security Perspectives” organised by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) at a local hotel.

Director School of Politics, Quaid-i-Azam University, Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal said CPEC was very important for China too if it needed to emerge a huge economy.

Dr Jaspal said the global situation had changed as “we are moving from uni-polar to multi-polar world and politics is moving from Europe to Asia Pacific”.

“China has become a very important country and focus of the world. On the other hand Russia, China and the United States all have interests in Afghanistan,” he said.

He said the role of India could not be ignored in the region because the US had been placing it as its ally in the region.

“The unending unrest on the Line of Control (LOC) creates war like situation and it also affects the foreign investment,” he said, adding the situation in Afghanistan will remain unpredictable.

Director PIPS Mohammad Amir Rana said terrorist attacks had declined by 50 per cent thanks to the Zarb-i-Azb operation.

Zarb-i-Azb and Karachi operation have somehow reduced operational capabilities of terrorists. However, they may go for some big targets like the one in Attock in which the Punjab Home Minister retired Col Shuja Khanzada died.

“It was anticipated that operation Zarb-i-Azb will achieve its targets within a few months but it has been going on for the last one year and still some areas in Fata are yet to be cleared,” the PIPS director said.

“Steps are under way to improve the situation in Balochistan, but still there are so many issues which hinder peace there,” he said and added that people of Karachi celebrated Eid and Independence Day without any fear, he said.

“In some parts of Punjab, operation has been launched but sectarian violence will remain there for a long time and it will provide recruiting ground to terrorist organizations. Both Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda will pose threat to CPEC,” he said.

Representative of Institute of Ethnic Minority Groups, Development and Research (IEMGDR), China, Mr Chang Bo said some other actions besides military action are required to solve the security problems.

Researcher at IEMGDR Mr Wang Jianming said the most important thing for Pakistan was to ensure security as there was threat from TTP and local militant groups.

“Chinese engineers and people can be attacked in Pakistan. Balochistan situation is also very fragile. Local people must have a feeling that they are also benefiting so they should be involved in completion of work of CPEC. We are ready to support and help Pakistan,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2015

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