Domestic political debate about inclusion of smaller provinces into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project framework has led to movement on the policy-front by the federal government. In a first move, the federal government invited Chief Ministers of Baluchistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa, Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan to participate in the recently held meeting of the of Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) in Beijing. The JCC is tasked to oversee implementation of the CPEC. It is also the forum where Chinese and Pakistani policy-makers deliberate upon and decide which projects to invest in. Essentially, it gave all provinces a seat at the CPEC decision-making table.
Provincial representatives, at the highest level, discussed projects with Chinese authorities in line with their priorities. Provincial governments have also identified locations for setting up industrial zones in their respective territories. At present there is a proposal to establish 8 industrial zones, with two in Baluchistan, including Gwadar free zone.Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, has categorically stated that any “controversial project” which undermines provincial harmony and unity of federation will not be made part of the CPEC.