* Sun Weidong says 19 projects worth $18.5 billion have directly created 20,000 jobs, most of those for the youth in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan Sun Weidong has said the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has entered the 'early harvest' stage.
"At present, 19 projects are under construction or have been completed with a total investment of $18.5 billion. The corridor projects have directly created nearly 20,000 local jobs, most of those for the youth. Chinese enterprises working on CPEC always lay emphasis on training of the youth and have sponsored many young graduates for study in China," he told the participants of the Annual Sangam Club Gala, 2017 held here at the Chinese Embassy.
"At least 14 pairs of friendly provinces or cities have been established. There were around 18,000 Pakistani students studying in China last year. The number of Pakistani students enjoying Chinese government scholarships is 5,081, ranking first in the world," he added.
Referring to Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif's recent visit to Beijing, the envoy said Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism over the years and an important participant in international anti-terrorism efforts. "The tremendous efforts and national sacrifices made by the Pakistani security forces and the people for the cause of counter-terrorism are not a secret, which should be fully acknowledged by the international community. We believe that Pakistan has made all-out efforts to counter terrorism on its soil. Some countries should acknowledge these sacrifices," he said.
Sun Weidong said that the Sangam Club since its launch last year had arranged trip to China for more than 200 people, including teachers, students, medical staffs and journalists. "Along with the progress of bilateral cooperation in various fields between the two countries, more and more Pakistani friends are visiting China. We always welcome Pakistani friends to China. The Chinese embassy will implement a series of facilitation measures to provide quality and efficient visa services," he said. "Sangam is not a club. We are one family. The Chinese Embassy is your second home. Come again and enjoy yourself," he said, adding Sangam Club is a new leaf added to Pakistan-China friendship that would go a long way in further cementing the people-to-people contacts between the two iron brothers.
On the occasion, special children from Balochistan along with others enthralled the audience with their exquisite skills. Chashman Khan, a student from Pishin, shared experience of her recent trip to China where the students attended the BIEE Summer Camp. She expressed her gratitude to Madame Diana Bao for arranging the visit to China of children from remotest villages of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. She lauded the Chinese embassy for giving special focus to the students of Balochistan, adding the people of Balochistan take pride in hosting the Chinese investors and workers who were working day and night to develop the province despite several challenges.
Madame Bao, the brain behind the Sangam Gala, had invited special students from Balochistan who performed national songs as well as cultural songs sung on weddings according to the local customs. The performance of special kids captivated the audience. The students also performed traditional dance 'Atan'.
Students from Hazara Public School and artistes from PNCA performed Punjabi dances - Bhangra and Luddi. On the occasion, Chinese cultural performers also fascinated the gathering.
Pakistani delegates who had visited China came all the way from Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi, Sargodha and Hazara Division for the reunion gala. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Nuzhat Sadiq said that mutual cooperation can put both countries on path of development and prosperity. She said CPEC was a win-win model of mutual cooperation.
HEC Chairman, Chinese Embassy Charge d' Affairs Zhao Lijian and PNCA Director General Jamal Shah were also present.
Published in Daily Times, September 11th2017