International Law: Pakistan’s CPEC Agreements

International Law

Understanding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has stirred significant debate and controversy, particularly in recent political discourse. The focus has shifted to its regional implications, overshadowing its international aspects. While domestic dimensions dominate the discussion within Pakistan, the international ramifications demand attention.

International Legal Framework of CPEC

CPEC’s viability hinges upon multiple agreements between China and Pakistan, requiring implementation through domestic legislation. Pakistan’s ‘dualist state’ classification necessitates local enforcement of international treaties through federal legislature. Key treaties predating CPEC, such as the China-Pakistan Bilateral Investment Treaty (1989) and the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (2006), hold immense relevance.

Enforceability Under International Law

According to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, agreements between states governed by international law are enforceable. Even informal agreements can be considered binding under customary international law, creating obligations and potential remedies in case of breach.

Challenges in Implementation

Despite numerous agreements and MoUs, Pakistan lacks clear domestic ratification procedures for international treaties. This ambiguity complicates the execution of obligations arising from CPEC-related treaties. The complexity intensifies with issues falling under federal and provincial jurisdictions simultaneously.

Provincial Dynamics and Implications

The 18th Amendment empowered provinces to manage fiscal affairs independently, yet the creation of special economic zones for CPEC raises concerns about fiscal powers and revenue distribution. Territorial ambiguities further complicate revenue-sharing arrangements with administrative units like Fata and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Impacts on Federalism and Preparedness

The absence of consensus and legal preparedness poses challenges. Pakistan’s need for political consensus before treaty agreements and subsequent domestic incorporation is crucial. The lack of readiness may lead to delays or even cancellations of CPEC projects, potentially exposing Pakistan to liabilities for breaching international commitments.


The complex interplay between international obligations, provincial dynamics, and domestic legal frameworks poses substantial challenges to the seamless execution of CPEC. Achieving alignment between federal and provincial interests is imperative to ensure the effective implementation of CPEC projects without undue delays or legal complications.

In navigating these intricate legal and political challenges, including those related to Trademark Registration in Pakistan, the country can effectively leverage the opportunities presented by CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor). This strategic maneuvering not only enables Pakistan to fulfill its international commitments but also ensures the protection of intellectual property rights essential for sustained economic growth within the corridor’s framework.

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