Pakistan’s geopolitical importance cannot be exaggerated. Pakistan is an important country in the stability of South and Central Asia. Neither peace in occupied Kashmir nor lasting peace in Afghanistan will be possible without Pakistan playing a pivotal role. International terrorism can only be effectively fought through close cooperation with Pakistan.
As a nuclear power, Pakistan is not only defying the wicked designs of its enemy like but also playing an important role to keep the power balance in the region. There have been unending terrorizations from India through persistent use of soft and hard powers to coerce Pakistan on many accounts principally to cap its nuclear weapons programme.
Outstanding efforts of Pakistan’s security structure under the legal protection of representative government, in all types of troubled areas to include terror hit Tribal areas and plentiful economic and business centers like Karachi, have aroused abnormal anxiety within American led west and Indian ranks.
Despite Pakistan enemies’ nefarious designs the nuclear Pakistan now stands all chance not only to counter these threats but also lead the world after fostering its true potential through CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor).
Further, the success of Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Radul Fassad is the continuation of this pledge to make Pakistan’s defence strong. The entire nation is united on the issue of terrorism and the ongoing operations against terrorists are getting phenomenal successes.
A sound economy is also a requirement for all powerful defense. Pakistan’s defense power has helped it now to truly symbolize its geopolitical potential and turn it into economic gains. The government has the credit of making the Pakistan a known nuclear power, is helping country achieve economic stability. It is playing a vital role as a leader of peace and stability in the region. The vision of national security is ingrained in economic sovereignty, internal stability, good governance and friendly international environment to protect Pakistan’s integrity and solidarity.
When the democratic government was installed in May 2013, the economy of the country was on the verge of collapse. The country faced a severe energy crisis. Economic growth was below 3 percent, inflation was at double digits, interest rates were high, budget deficit was at 8.8 percent of GDP, and investments were very low, foreign currency reserves stood at the lowest ever level.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a collection of projects currently under construction at a cost of about $50 billion that is now seen as integral within the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. Projects under the umbrella of the CPEC are designed to strengthen the Pakistani economy by the overhaul and construction of major infrastructure projects, establishment of special economic zones and a significantly improved electricity supply.
In November 2016, the birth of the CPEC began in earnest when Chinese cargo was transported to the port of Gwadar for onward maritime shipment to Africa and West Asia. Infrastructure projects will stretch he length and breadth of Pakistan and will eventually link Pakistani seaports in Gwadar and Karachi to China’s northwestern autonomous region of Xinjiang via a vast network of highways and railways. Over $33 billion worth of energy infrastructure projects are to be constructed to alleviate Pakistan’s chronic energy shortages. A network of pipelines to transport liquefied natural gas and oil will also be laid as part of the project, including a $2.5 billion pipeline between Gwadar and Nawabshah to finally transport gas from Iran.
Pakistan achieved a total generation capacity of 1,185 megawatts from renewable energy when the first wind power project under the CPEC was installed in Gharo. Pakistan is amongst the few countries in the world today producing over 1,000 megawatts of electricity from renewable energy sources and had been listed 39th in the renewable energy index.
China’s interest in deepening economic ties Pakistan is a surprise given the US’s interest is declining. China’s investment in Pakistan’s infrastructure was always going to be greeted with joy by a nation which has struggled economically for many years. The CPEC project is seen by China as a fulfillment point for a trade and energy corridor emanating from the Central Asian Region and offers them strategic and geopolitical advantage given the port of Gwadar is located not far from the Strait of Hormuz and at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. By developing the port of Gwadar, China are now able to conduct economic projects in Afghanistan and critically, one of their objectives is to use Pakistan as a pipeline corridor to procure oil and gas, particularly from Iran. Iran will figure prominently in this CPEC project and is projected to upgrade to a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in 2018, which are further indications of the growing influence of Iran not only in the Middle East.
The geo-political and strategic importance of Pakistan would be enhanced with inclusion in Shanghai Cooperation Organization as full member and the country would be better equipped now to protect its interests in regional and international levels. Through rational management of the economy that focused on macro-economic structural reforms, expansion in tax net, investment in infrastructure and energy projects and initiatives aimed at reducing budget deficit, the government has been able to turn around in the economy, nevertheless the devastation wrought by floods and expenditure on military operations against terrorists and volatile political conditions.
Pakistan’s economic success story has repeatedly been endorsed by the international rating agencies IMF, the World Bank and the international media, lending credence to the government claims. Forbes observed macro-economic and structural reforms over the last couple of years have narrowed the budget deficit and raised GDP to a stable level of 4.5 percent. Standards and Poor’s upgraded Pakistan’s credit rating from stable to positive. The economy is growing satisfactorily. Economic policies in the period ahead need to focus on preserving the hard-won stability.
Pakistan is a peaceful country and has no aggressive designs against any country. It would continue to modernize its Army, Navy and Air Force to fully enable them protect the sovereignty and integrity the country.