LAHORE: Punjab University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zaffar Mueen Nasar Saturday said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would benefit entire region, besides positively influencing Pakistan socially, economically and politically to a great extent.
Talking to a bunch of students at his office led by senior faculty member of the Institute of Communication Studies (ICS), Dr Waqar Chaudhry, the vice chancellor said that the CPEC would accrue many economic benefits to China, Pakistan, Russia, Central Asia and other South Asian countries in terms of trade, investment and people to people contact. "It is also likely to create a regional environment whereby South Asian countries would be attracted to seek peace based on the incentives of CPEC-related economic benefits," he added.
"In this context, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, in support of China, Russia, Central Asian Republics (CARs) and other South Asian countries, might get convinced for seeking peace in the region by resolving the disputes confronting them," he maintained.
"Our region has witnessed a lot of conflict and deprivation in the past. Time has come to turn a new leaf in the history of the region by bringing peace and prosperity and addressing the challenges of poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment," he added.
Throwing light on the declining export volume in Pakistan, he said that the CPEC project would provide a network of road and railways to link remote manufacturing facilities to the Karachi and Gwadar seaports.
"The improved connectivity will reduce the cost of transportation and curtail travel time. Not only will it enhance competitiveness of existing firms but will also incentivise exports. For instance, Pakistan's northern areas produce vegetables and fruits, such as apples, apricots and cherries. But due to a lack of good connectivity, most of this produce could not be exported. The CPEC would link the northern areas to airports in Peshawar, Rawalpindi, and Lahore. This will give a boost to the export of agricultural commodities, as most of these products were being transported by air owing to their perishable nature," he elucidated.
Moreover, the vice chancellor said that CPEC would address Pakistan's energy crisis as projects worth $35 billion had been envisaged in Pakistan in the energy sector.
Prof Dr Zaffar, a leading economist of international fame, said that the CPEC would enable Pakistan to benefit greatly from ingenuity, innovation and time-tested expertise of the Chinese industry.
"With the establishment of the economic zones in remote areas, employment and uplift will come to the downtrodden and undeveloped areas of the country, which will reduce poverty in these areas," he observed. "Enhancement of geographical linkages having improved road, rail and air transportation systems with frequent and free exchange of growth and people to people contact; improving understanding of each other through academic and cultural linkages as well as cultural activities; high volume of trade and business is a win-win model," he noted.
Published in Daily Times, October 1st 2017