Regional Railway Integration of Pakistan through CPEC: Impacts on Market Economy within the Balochistan Province



Rohri-Chaman Track, Spin Boldak, Khushka, Sistan-o-Baluchistan, Chabahar Port, Carpet Industry


The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) emerges not solely as a conduit linking Pakistan and China but as a far-reaching endeavor aspiring to interconnect diverse East Asian, Southeast Asian, Central Asian, Eurasian and Middle Eastern nations through a complex network of road, railway and maritime routes. Within this expansive paradigm, Pakistan Railways propounds a series of strategic initiatives under the CPEC umbrella. These encompass proposals for the refinement of extant railway infrastructure, notably the Pak-Iran Railway Track (ML-4), and the conception of new railway tracks within the national domain. Additionally, propositions for establishing railway links with China and Afghanistan are articulated. This study accentuates the pivotal role of Balochistan within the pantheon of CPEC railway projects. The envisioned linkage of Basima, Mastung, Kalat, Panjgur, Turbet, Khuzdar, Pasni, Ormara, Gwadar and Zhob to the extant railway lattice in Pakistan is scrutinized for its potential to rapidly galvanize local markets and industries within the Balochistan region. The study further anticipates transformative effects stemming from the enhancement of the Pak-Iran railway track and the extension of the Rohri-Chaman track towards Kandahar and, subsequently, Turkmenistan, visualizing each railway station as an emergent international marketplace poised to impact the local sociocultural fabric. Nevertheless, a conspicuous impediment manifests in the form of a “difference in gauge” within these railway projects, positing that the unaddressed intricacies of gauge incongruity present formidable barriers to the seamless integration of Pakistan Railway with Iranian, Afghan or Chinese Railway systems. Addressing this conundrum is imperative for the efficacious realization of these ambitious transnational railway activities.


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