April 20 , 2017

Dr Shafqat brings factors influencing 'Rise of China' to light

LUMS holds a seminar on the Rise of China, 'We need to work on building harmony around the CPEC', says Dr Saeed Shafqat
LAHORE: Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) held a seminar on 'China's Rise: Impact on the Gulf, Iran, Pakistan and Beyond' on Wednesday where Dr Saeed Shafqat, the Founding Director of the Centre for Public Policy and Governance (CPPG) at Forman Christian College was invited as chief guest.

Dr Saeed Shafqat is a widely renowned scholar in the field of civil-military relations, public policy and administration in Pakistan.

Dr Shafqat highlighted six different school of thoughts on the said topic which included the Chinese scholars' perspective as well. He spoke of the rise of China – both economically and geopolitically – and added 'China's rise is like the melting of the polar caps' whereby previous global nodes of power are now changing.

He said that the Pak-China relation has always been a strategic partnership – based on ideologies of brotherhood and mutual respect.

an alliance similar to that which Pakistan enjoys with the United States of America (USA).

Dr Shafqat said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a great initiative but the Pakistani political leadership lacks consensus on the project, hence causing hurdles which the Chinese are trying to deal with as per their own policy of 'a peaceful rise' without agitating the other players.

"The government needs to build consensus around the CPEC," said Dr Shafqat.

He further said that the idea of One Belt One Road (OBOR) did not originate from China, as initially it came from the USA and it is something very important – 'which we need to understand'.

He said that China's involvement in Pakistan relates to four main areas: infrastructure, energy, the development of Gwadar and industrial/economic zones.

"I will not be surprised if China started to export manpower in the upcoming years," said Dr Shafqat.

Dr. Shafqat explained that China may be employing a "Counter Containment Strategy", while interacting with its regional partners, which links development with security, followed by infrastructure, cultural and educational interactions and the promotion of regional connectivity.

Dr Saeed Shafqat argued that the in order to maximise the economic dividends from the CPEC, Pakistan’s leadership would need to garner political support from the provinces and be more prudent in the terms of agreements they negotiate with China.

He said that the CPEC could be ‘a game changer’ for development in the country only if its governance prioritized Pakistan’s socioeconomic, environmental and geostrategic interests in a transparent and equitable manner.

Dr Shafqat said that the One Belt One Road (OBOR) is an ambitious Chinese project envisioning economic transformation and regional connectivity across Europe and Asia as it constitutes six economic corridors including the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a pivotal pillar upon which the structure of this vision is to be built.

CPEC offers Pakistan an unprecedented opportunity for infrastructure development and economic growth he said and added that Pakistan could gain significant economic and social dividends by aligning its needs on road and rail networks, development of energy and gas pipelines and facilitation of special economic and free trade zones across the CPEC.

It could also promote greater human development through worker training, skills exchange programs and by channeling investments towards the social sectors, he said, adding that there is growing euphoria about the CPEC being a ‘game changer’ and harbinger of development for Pakistan.

Dr Shafqat said that that in order to reap the development dividends offered by the collaboration, Pakistan needs to first build political consensus locally, intensify consultation with the provinces, be more transparent about project development and promote a sense of ownership for CPEC. Without participatory and inclusive management of the project, the CPEC will remain controversial and divisive and will not allow Pakistan to fully capitalise on the various development opportunities the project has to offer.

Dr Muhammad Waseem, Dr Hassan Karrar, CPPG's Communications Team and students of LUMS among others participated in the event.



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