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Start of CPEC witnesses socio-economic activities in Balochistan

Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday said social and economic activities have started in Balochistan along with the roads being constructed there as part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Under CPEC, two international standard roads are being constructed– from Gwadar to Quetta, and from Gwadar to Khuzdar to Ratodero, he said. ” I was pleased to see, the local people have started setting up hotels, shops and houses along the completed portions of the CPEC routes linking Gwadar with China. This corridor shall bring social and economic change in Balochistan,” he expressed his satisfaction while addressing a seminar on CPEC.
The seminar titled ” China Pakistan Economic Corridor: A Road to Peace and Prosperity of the Region” was organised by an NGO , Rabita Forum International (RFI) and presided over by its Chairman RFI, Nusrat Mirza. It was attended by a large number of students from different universities and the teachers.
RFI Chairman, Nusrat Mirza said the seminar was organised to create awareness among the students about the importance and prospects of CPEC, and what the role they could play in transforming CPEC into a big success for the country. The universities would have to prepare groups of professionals to meet the demands of the projects/activities emerging during and after execution of this very important international plan of CPEC, Nusrat Mirza said.
The Federal Minister for Planning and Development assured that CPEC would be equally beneficial for all the provinces. Like Gwadar, he continued, Gilgit-Baltistan would be gateway to CPEC. 46 billion dollars CPEC would prove a game changer for entire region. It would interlink South Asia, Central Asia and Europe , and open billions of dollars market for Pakistan and other regional countries, he said.
He elaborated that CPEC plan is divided into four parts : 1) setting up the most modern port of Gwadar which would increase our trade manifold, 2) strengthening of energy sector by adding more than 10,400 MW to the system and up-gradation of the transmission system, 3) development of infrastructure based on three routes linking China with all the provinces of Pakistan, 4) industrialization mainly in Gwadar under Pak-China partnership and cooperation.

He rejected the impression and reports that the original plan/alignment of CPEC was altered. “Not a single inch change was made with CPEC,” he asserted. He also refuted the propaganda and claimed that under CPEC , Pakistan got loan from China at the possible lowest rate of 1.3 percent.
He reminded that by convening All Parties Conference on CPEC, the Government succeeded in addressing the apprehensions shown by all the main political parties of the country. Now, he reassured, CPEC would be successfully completed even the any other party comes to power in the next general elections. The Minister said CPEC was a product of the two visions : Pakistan’s vision was to establish integrity and enhance its linkage in the region and with the world. Whereas, China wanted connectivity up to the West under one road-one belt concept.
He appreciated the gesture shown by the President of China on the occasion of inauguration CPEC during his visit to Pakistan. ” China wants a community of shared destiny with Pakistan,” he said adding that it meant China wants to share prosperity with Pakistan. Prof.Ahsan Iqbal informed the participants that after inauguration of CPEC, the world including the Western states have declared Pakistan as the safe haven for billions of dollars of Chinese investment.
On this occasion, the Minister mentioned that during his recent visit to United States, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif signed agreement on US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor which would benefit Pakistan a lot in producing Ph.Ds in different disciplines. We could have up to 10,000 Ph.Ds with the support of USA universities under this agreement, he added. For enhancing the quality of education in the country, the Government had enhanced the grant to Higher Education Commission (HEC) to Rs 78 billion from Rs 48 billion.
He said that under the vision 2025, we would rise Pakistan among top ten economies of the world. All such goals would depend on the quality of efforts and the use of brain instead of muscles, he said. He said these days every country is confronted to global competition and challenges. The countries in the world were on cut- throat competition with each other and at the same time , they were alive and taking care of global changes and demands.
“No country can survive in isolation in the era of globalization,” he remarked. He called upon the students to prepare themselves for shouldering the responsibilities of the country amid the fast changing world and globalization. Former ambassador to China Masood Khan also spoke on the importance of China Pakistan Economic Corridor for the country, the region and the world.
Both dignitaries also answered queries of the participants; most of them were university students.

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