China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a project that could turn the country’s fate, is halted due to the prevailing political uncertainty in the country. Chinese are growing disappointment and desperately waiting for the political dust to settle, which is far from sight. Chinese investors are going back shelving their investment, because the concessions and exemptions were not announced. Member Policy-FBR Suryya Butt is not issuing the SRO declaring the exemptions.

Pakistan has once again become the turf between two super powers. Imran Khan Government was willing to keep good relations with Russia and China, however the influential quarters in the country favored USA. There is an argument that USA and Europe are the largest trade partners of Pakistan, and we should not drift away to Russia and China.

CPEC is our only chance to be pulled out of the present situation i.e. no imports, ban on others; exports made extremely expensive; no dollars in the market; flight of everything to Afghanistan from wheat flour to Dollars.

The CPEC project has given the Chinese too many incentives, from 23 years duty free imports, to ownership of units purchased in SEZs, duty free import of capital goods to access all over the country.

However, Customs Directorate of CPEC is not being empowered to fulfil the commitments made with China. CPEC meanwhile has no budget, no office, no logistics and no man power, just a Director.

Pakistan could have negotiated a fair deal of getting out of this crisis. The strategy is simple: buy all goods available in Pakistani market for export. The Chinese demand for food, raw materials, etc. is so high that it would have fulfilled only 7-10% of their demand and 100% of Pakistan’s supply.

“We would have achieved way beyond our 100% export targets. Still would have met only 10% of China’s demand. Our current account deficit, trade deficit, all would have been met,” a senior officer said.

Regime Change Operation & VONC have cost Pakistan a whopping $12.5 Billion in FX Foreign Exchange Reserve losses since Feb-2022.

This is besides the $1.5 – $2.0 billion being lost per month in reduced remittances, exports, and FDI after Mr. Dar was flown in to head the Finance Ministry once more after he left a $19 Billion Current Account Deficit during his last stint (FY2018).

All-in-all, the losses to the country’s reserves are a staggering $20-22 Billion within a timespan of only 11 months. I hope it was all worth the cost.

Meanwhile, Russia and Iran are working on a new shipping corridor that cuts Europe and its sanctions out of the picture, and are looking to partner with India, which has kept its distance from the Western-led isolation campaign against the two countries.

The plan is an answer to the U.S.-led push for “friendshoring,” an effort to relocate supply chains to allies and friendly countries.

Construction is underway on 3,300 kilometers of railways throughout Iran, and 560 km of new track is set to open for operation by March, a senior Iranian official said recently. Completing all of these projects would expand the country’s rail network by 20%.

Tehran and Moscow argue that the route would benefit New Delhi politically and economically. It would open up the possibility of more trade with resource-rich Central Asia through Iran, as well as further India’s goal of developing alternatives to the Belt and Road link between China and the Pakistani port of Gwadar that New Delhi has opposed.