CPEC – Game Changer for the Region

The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (Chinese: 中国-巴基斯坦经济走廊; Urdu: پاكستان-چین اقتصادی راہداری‎), often referred to by the acronym CPEC, is a collection of projects currently under construction at a cost of $51 billion, intended to rapidly expand and upgrade Pakistani infrastructure as well as deepen and broaden economic links between Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China. The corridor is considered to be an extension of China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative, and the importance of CPEC to China is reflected by its inclusion as part of China’s 13th five-year development plan.

One Belt, One Road

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, also known as The Belt and Road (abbreviated B&R), One Belt, One Road (abbreviated OBOR) or the Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy and framework, proposed by Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily between the People’s Republic of China and the rest of Eurasia, which consists of two main components, the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) and oceangoing “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR).

Pakistan National Highway Network

National Highways of Pakistan (Urdu قومی شاہراہ) consists of all public highways maintained by the National Highways Authority under the Ministry of Transport. It maintains over 12,000 kilometers (7,500 mi) of roadways organised into various classifications which crisscross the country and provide access to major population centers. National Highways are not to be confused with provincial highways, which are roads maintained by the respective provinces. Pakistan’s national highways include the famous Grand Trunk Road, Indus Highway, Karakoram Highway and Makran Coastal Highway. All national highways in Pakistan are pre-fixed with the letter ‘N’ (for “national”) followed by the unique numerical designation of the specific highway (with a hyphen in the middle), e.g. “N-5”. Each numerical designation is separated by five numerals, i.e. N-5, N-10, N-15, etc. National Highways are distinct from ‘Strategic Highways’, which begin with the prefix ‘S’ and are controlled and operated by the Ministry of Defense.

Great Asian Highway Network

The Asian Highway (AH) project, also known as the Great Asian Highway, is a cooperative project among countries in Asia and Europe and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), to improve the highway systems in Asia. It is one of the three pillars of the Asian Land Transport Infrastructure Development (ALTID) project, endorsed by the ESCAP commission at its 48th session in 1992, comprising Asian Highway, Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) and facilitation of land transport projects.

Agreements have been signed by 32 countries to allow the highway to cross the continent and also reach to Europe. Some of the countries taking part in the highway project are India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China, Japan, South Korea and Bangladesh.[1] Most of the funding comes from the larger, more advanced Asian nations like Japan, India and China as well as international agencies such as the Asian Development Bank.

Asian Highway 4 – AH4

Asian Highway 4 (AH4) is a route of the Asian Highway Network which runs 6,024 km (3,743 mi) from Novosibirsk, Russia (on AH6) via Ürümqi, China (on AH5) to Karachi, Pakistan (on AH7). The route is as follows:

  • Russia
  • Mongolia
  • China
  • Pakistan

Asian Highway 7 – AH7

Asian Highway 7 (AH7) is a route in the Asian Highway Network. It runs from Yekaterinburg, Russia to Karachi, Pakistan. All together, it is 5,868 km (3,646 mi) long. It passes from Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The AH7 shares its route between Merke (Kazakhstan) and Kara-Balta (Kyrgyzstan) about a hundred kilometers along with the AH5. In Kabul(Afghanistan) AH7 stops, but reaches to the city of Kandahar though AH1, where the AH7 resumes its route towards Pakistan.

According to the manual of the Asian Highway Project in 2002 almost the entire route is paved. Only a distance of 72 km in Kyrgyzstan and a piece of 83 kilometers in Tajikistan are unpaved.

In Pakistan AH7 (N25 – Pakistan Road Networks) enters at Chaman. It passes through Qila Abdullah, Quetta, Mastung, Kalat, Khuzdar, Uthal, Goth Hussain and Hub, ending at Karachi. In Pakistan N25 is also called RCD (Regional Cooperation for Development) Highway. The route is as follows:

  • Russia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Tajikistan
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakista