Pakistan and China firmly believe that regionalism and working together is the way forward to prosperity and address security concerns. The two sides have already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance defence ties. General Wei Fenghe, National Minister of National Defence of China, meeting with General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), suggests that the two sides value each other’s strategic and military significance.
Perhaps, the most significant proof of China Pakistan’s time-tested friendship is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of China’s Belt One Road Initiative (BRI). The coordination between and cooperation of the two sides was evident during the 5th Meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Gwadar’s development. While the two sides evaluated the projects’ progress, they also vowed to connect Gwadar port to the second phase of Free Trade Zone (FTZ) through Eastbay Expressway by 2021’s end.
Since operations at Gwadar port have already started, it is now time to ensure that the port city has a world-class inter and intra city communication network. Gwadar Port’s connectivity with FTZ will bring many dividends for Beijing and Islamabad. But the biggest beneficiary will be the locals whose lives will change due to the socio-economic activity that will kick-start once the road projects complete. On the one hand, the road infrastructure from the port to the FTZ will accelerate business activity there; on the other, it will attract investors to the city.
While we have already entered the second phase, access to telecommunication is missing from the scene. The lack of telecommunication networks can emerge as a significant stumbling block in the overall development of Gwadar. Therefore, Pakistan must do all that it takes to provide telecommunication facilities there. After all, the development of Gwadar means progress for CPEC and the rest of the country. The greater common good demands from us to remain focused and continue working on Gwadar’s development.