Time to get benefits of CPEC: Ahsan Iqbal

ISLAMABAD:  Minister for Interior Prof Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was making tremendous progress in completion of infrastructure and energy projects and time was ripe to get benefits of the major initiative.

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The Chinese investment, technology and Pakistani location with low production cost combined together made a winning combination, he said this while addressing a national conference on ‘Changing Security in South Asia and Development of CPEC’.

Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) had organized the two-day Conference.

The Minister said through various energy projects power shortage would be overcome which was the first prerequisite of industrial development.

“The present government has ensured generation of 10,000 MW electricity as compared to 16,000 MW which was generated during 66 years.

The energy security would ensure economic security for the country,” Ahsan Iqbal, who is also Minister for Planning Development and Reforms said.

“In the past, the country was facing 20 hour long electricity shortages. Now electricity is available 20 hours a day.”

Ahsan Iqbal said development and improved standard of living was not possible without peace, stability and harmony, adding that the world had entered the information age and countries were competing for economic ascendancy.

“If there is a conflict, then the development process gets stalled,” he maintained.

He said the second requirement of industrial development was strong infrastructure and in coming years Gwadar port would also have further improved infrastructure through road and modern airport.

As for peace and security, a requirement for industrial investment and development, he mentioned that the government had taken solid steps to improve the security situation in the country.

Ahsan Iqbal has said that with the momentum of CPEC a world of opportunities have opened up setting fundamentals of industrial cooperation between Pakistan and China, fast in place.

“Pakistan was committed to peace in the region and  would not allow anybody to use its soil for terrorism,” he said and added the government was working in coordination with other governments to promote regional peace.

He said only a strong economy with favourable environment would ensure development and prosperity.

The Minister said Pakistan had defeated terrorism and now its economy, sports activities and tourism were being revived.

He said Pakistan was on a path of recovery, contrary to 2013, when security situation was not well, but now there was renewed optimism and energy.

He said as a developing country, Pakistan needed to harness its human and natural resources and added Pakistan needed to make speedy progress by enhancing cooperation.

He said the future belonged to those who blended science with economy and focused on innovation and creativity for achieving development.

Describing the opportunities in Pakistan, he said, with a large middle income population, Pakistan was an attractive choice and explained the available opportunities in different sectors of economy.

He highlighted their potential to create employment at grass root level and asked Chinese businesses to join joint ventures to make win-win platforms for both Pakistani and Chinese businessmen so as to develop and maintain goodwill by more mutual and partnership based relationship.

Ahsan Iqbal said CPEC should not be made controversial as it will bring about sustainable prosperity in Pakistan as well as the region.

In his remarks, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said as flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative, the CPEC has entered the stage of early harvest.

“Presently, 19 projects are under construction or completed with a total investment of US $ 19 billion. The CPEC projects have directly created thousands of local jobs. Chinese enterprises always  lay emphasis on training the youth talents and actively provide training opportunities,” he said.

APP

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