IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series Chapter 9: CPEC: The Next Mile (Sep 7, 2020)

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series Chapter 9: CPEC: The Next Mile (Sep 7, 2020)

On Monday, September 7, 2020, the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) organized a Webinar titled “CPEC: The Next Mile”. The webinar was part of the IICR’s Globe 2020 Webinar Series. The webinar entailed the coming aspects and designs for CPEC in its second phase on which expert panel shared their views.

The Session was moderated by Chairman IICR Maj. Gen Raza Muhammad®. The esteemed panelist included Prof. Dr. Song  Zhihui Deputy Dean School of International Studies Sichuan University, China, Mr. Ling Jianke Executive Representative of Power China Pakistan, and Mr. Hassan Daud Butt, CEO KP-BOIT.

The session was started with Dr. Zhihui, who highlighted the importance of Special Economic zones. He said that some of the Zones in the first phase were not designed according to the requirements of the industry thus there is a need to redesign SEZs in the second phase and relocate industries in the second phase of CPEC as well. Adding more he said that there could be special zones within SEZ’s or apart from SEZ’s under which leather and furniture industries shall be built which as well can be an addition to benefits from CPEC. He also highlighted that the policies related to SEZ’s shall be the same so that the companies which are willing to come and invest do not have to face many hurdles. Lastly, he said that to harness the maximum and robust development of SEZ’s direct communication lines in the shape of flight routes shall be established as well.

Mr. Ling discussed the technical points related to CPEC. He said that Power China is fully contributing to the designing of the second phase of CPEC with full enthusiasm. Commenting on the initial phase of CPEC, he said that in Pakistan in the duration of the first phase lacked the power influx which was the reason that the first phase focused on power and road infrastructure to connect the dots. After the completion of the first phase, the issue of load shedding has largely been resolved. Adding more to his part he said that the ML-1 is needed to be built quickly so the communication lines can be strengthened in full capacity. With strong communication lines, economic stability can be harnessed quickly. Commenting further he said that electricity consumption shall be more on commercial activity whereas 50% of the power consumption currently is on the household sector. He also said that China is shifting its industry in East Asian countries for cheap labor whereas Pakistan could be one where China can shift its industry to further strengthening the iron bond. He also said that the Heavy industry shall be the priority for Pakistan which can create more Jobs. Moreover, Pakistan can intensify its food export as China is a country with a population of 1.3 billion people and thus can be a great importer.

Mr. Hasan Daud who has also served as Project Director to CPEC. Mr. Daud began by stating that Pakistan is going through a great transformative phase and there is an industrial revolution knocking at the door for Pakistan. Reflecting on the future Mr. Daud said that for the next 50 years China would be the global engine for growth and development without any competition. He also said that the economic and political model of China should be academically studied; it includes lessons for Pakistan especially the fact that how China paced its growth in less than 30 years pulling out millions from abject poverty. Commenting on the current situation he said that all three SEZ’s i.e. Rashakai, Dhabeji, and Faislabad are already attracting investments which is a great fortune for Pakistan. Adding more to power projects under CPEC he said that in the first phase the electricity generation was as per plan and by 2025 Pakistan will be able to produce 7000MW of electricity. Lastly, he said that Maritime tourism is also one of the great component of CPEC and in Long term plan of CPEC which was published in 2017 it was prototyped as a 1+5 Model. In which 1 is the corridor and 5 are the various port cities.

Concluding the session Maj. Gen. Raza Muhammad® said that it has been a well-established fact by the scholars that it is the Asian Century and the future belongs to Asia in which China is actively playing its part. Reflecting on the history he said that China never colonized any other state rather for centuries it believes in peacefully resolving matters despite having the capacity to resolve conflicts militarily. Adding more he said that one of evidence is the fact that China had 13 border settlement issues out of 11 are being resolved, leaving the Indian and Bhutan’s aside. Commenting on the myths and propaganda he added that both the countries are unanimous on countering the elements which are sabotaging the CPEC and it will continue to proceed with full zeal. The session ended with the vote of thanks to the speakers.

When The Fire Ends: World After Covid-19 And New Inception of Globe

When The Fire Ends: World After Covid-19 And New Inception of Globe

Throughout the annals of human history, humanity has faced many challenges which altered its course. Whether its natural catastrophes or man orchestrated wars, they have put a profound impact on human civilization on this earth. Along with every calamity there sometimes comes opportunities in disguise as well like world wars made the world step into the realms of Neo-liberalism and put an end to colonization. Black Death in Europe instigated a whole new age of history in Europe, The Renaissance. These catastrophes not only change the normal but shape the future as well.

COVID-19 Mindmap by IICR

Pandemics are also such calamities with which world is still entangled. So far, Smallpox is the only pandemic which successfully has been eliminated through the world which too was done in the 1980s. HIV aids have become an endemic rather than just being an epidemic. In post Smallpox world, people started to contemplate that science would overcome epidemics and pandemics. Nevertheless, then the situation got worse as SARS, MERS, E-BOLA, Swine Flu, Zika were on the waiting list.2 Apart from effects on Human lives, these events also proved to be quite impactful on the Globe as well by effecting its geopolitical, geo-economic cogs.

So is the case with current world Vs Covid-19 pandemic. Started from the small city has now crippled the whole Globe by currently being on a spree of devouring cities. As this research is being penned down the victims of Covid-19 are increasing.

However, whenever a pandemic emerges, there are two main phases in which the world suffers one as primary, from extreme situation to its mildness then secondary the crucial one, post-pandemic status quo. Currently, the world is facing the steam of an ongoing crisis, while awaits for the second as this Fire settles down. Since the situation is too fluid right now, there is no such work which can forecast the exact post-Covid-19 scenario. However, it is for sure that it will bring considerable change to the world, whether in geopolitical or geo-economic or both in means.

By walking through the corridors of history, one can assert some amount of contemplation on the change’s world will phase.

Webinar “CPEC at the new Cross Roads”

Webinar “CPEC at the new Cross Roads”

On Monday, June 1st, Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) organized a closed webinar titled as “CPEC at the new Cross Roads”.  The webinar was part of IICR exclusive initiative Globe 2020, which is aimed at exploring the upcoming major challenges to the Globe. The first Chapter was organized in collaboration with Power China and Sichuan University’s Pakistan Study Center.

The diverse panel included experienced professionals who enlightened with their expertise. Panellists included Prof. Dr. Song Zhihui  Director, Pakistan Study Center, Sichuan University, Dr. Xiu Guangmin vice director of the Pakistan Study Center in Sichuan University, Mr. Ling Jianke is Executive Representative of Power China Pakistan Branch, Senior Engineer, from Pakistan side panelists include Prof. Dr. Rifaat Hussain Analyst, Professor Department of Government Policy and Public Administration at NUST, Maj. Gen. Raza Muhammad®, Chairman IICR, and Ms. Sabah Aslam, the Founder and Executive Director of IICR.

Chairman IICR, Maj. Gen. Raza Muhammad ® moderated the session.

Dr Xiu highlighted the significance of extremism as a hindrance in the growth of CPEC. He pointed out that Pakistan’s government was unable to impose a strict lock-down causing the downturn in recovery. He also pointed out that the government of Pakistan is, at present, not taking enough measures to promote CPEC at the front. Moreover, he shared his concerns over lock-down.

Mr Ling shared his experience about how CPEC is progressing during Covid-19. He expressed that Pak-China Cooperation will continue to grow during and after Covid-19. He also stated that the scope of CPEC should be enlarged to include more sectors in it.

Prof. Dr. Song emphasized the role of think-tanks and research units to curtail the negative propaganda often orchestrated by western media. He believed that reality-based research and discourse shall be produced and dispersed by such intellectual realms to smoothen the flow of CPEC during Covid-19.

Ms. Sabah shed light on Security Challenges to CPEC & Balochistan. She emphasized that rather than defying any security challenges, both countries need to accept the severe security threats to CPEC and shall overcome this hindrance through cooperation.

Prof. Dr. Rifaat enlightened us about the Afghan factor in CPEC. “There should not be any doubt that the solution to Afghanistan is only through dialogue”, Dr Rifaat said. He also highlighted that the withdrawal will cause a vacuum which needed to be filled through international consensus. While talking on Pakistan, China and Afghanistan, he added that the trio shall consider creating a cooperative security framework which can help in bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan.

At the end Chairman IICR, Maj. Gen. Raza Muhammad® concluded the session with the hope that Paki-China cooperation and CPEC will prosper no matter what hindrance it faces.

Interactive Session with Mr. Zhao Lijian (China Emb. DHM)

Interactive Session with Mr. Zhao Lijian (China Emb. DHM)

Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) hosted an in-house interactive session with delegation from Chinese embassy. Delegation was headed by Mr. Zhao Lijian. IICR’s Chief Executive gave the welcomed remarks and extended her gratitude to Mr. Zhao and Chinese Embassy. Later Mr. Zhao Lijian addressed the audience and shed insight to the CPEC progress. He said that as the second phase of CPEC has started it now focuses on few sectors, the infrastructure and development where he pointed out that the provincial and federal government should introduce subsidizing polices to attract the investors at special economic zones. Mr. Zhao then said that another aspect which is on the check list is development of social sector under which is one of prime aspect of CPEC. He added that under social development Chinese government has launched pilot project for poverty elevation through which significant growth will be seen in the socio-economic fabric of Pakistan. H.E Mr. Zhao expressed that there are also special focus on agriculture on which Chinese government is willing to help Pakistan with its expertise and technology.
Chinese DHM to Pakistan Mr. Zhao also said that CPEC and BRI are inclusive projects and open for all and it welcomes third party participation. He further added that by the end of this month one of the mile stones will be achieved with the completion of power plant at Thar of capacity of 660MW. He also anticipated that another Balochistan power plant will be completed by the end of August of 2019.
Commenting on trade war between Beijing and Washington Mr. Zhao said that China has no intention to engage its potential and energy on any sort of war with the United States despite it wants to normalize the tensions since both have interest in it. He also said that both the countries are interdependent on each other.
Attitude of the United States seems non-serious towards this problem since they are bullying Beijing through its rigid and non-serious attitude, he added.
Session was concluded by the Chairman, Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution Maj.Gen Raza Muhammad. He thanked Mr. Zhao for delivering an interesting and truly comprehensive session, he also said that the people of Pakistan and the government of Pakistan wants to see CPEC successful. He further added that government of Pakistan and people of Pakistan thanks China for its support in difficult times.
Session was then followed by a lunch.