Pakistan Ambassador to China, Masood Khalid Tuesday said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a natural front-runner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and this flagship project had increasingly taken a concrete shape since it was launched in 2013.
“This flagship project has enabled Pakistan and China to translate their time-tested friendship into a strategic partnership with tangible facts on the ground that directly benefit people of both countries,” he said while addressing a select gathering of intellectuals, teachers and students at the Institute of Belt and Road Initiative at Tsinghua University here. Ambassador Khalid said that the CPEC was not a plan about hollow promises in the remote future but it was happening now in a short span of a few years.
“The power projects completed under the CPEC have largely alleviated electricity shortfall and as a result, the economic activity has improved manifold in the country,” he added.
He said the mineral resources were being taped and with the development of Thar coal project in near future, the poverty would be a thing of past and added, the infrastructure development and transportation network would multiply dividend for the people.
The Gwadar port had attained operational status which would create employment opportunities for the local people and also provide connectivity to other countries of the region, he added.
He informed that after the CPEC, Pakistan’s economic indicators were showing positive results and the economic growth rate had exceeded 5.5 percent last year.
Now, the government was prioritizing the trade and economic zones for the rapid industrial development which would provide a tremendous opportunity for the investors. For the industrial development, Pakistan will learn from experience of China which has an ample knowledge in this regard, he added.
Ambassador Khalid said that there were some elements who seek to create hurdles in the smooth functioning of the CPEC, but we are clear the CPEC was here to stay and meet the aspiration of our two people.
About the security of the Chinese citizens working in Pakistan, he informed the audience that Pakistan had raised a security force for the protection of Chinese engineers, technicians and workers across the country.
He said at present, 22,000 Pakistani students were studying in different colleges and universities of China which would further promote and cement the existing relations between the two countries.
He said the Chinese students were taking a keen interest in learning Urdu language and now, Urdu departments had been set up in nine Chinese universities and hoped it would further people to people contacts between the two countries.
Regarding China’s role in the global economic development and peace, he said that in the current global context, the resurgence of China was a breath of fresh air and a ray of hope for a better shared future for mankind.
“Whether it is a commitment to open and equitable economic globalization or it is advocacy of multilateralism and a win-win cooperation to find collective solutions of challenges, China has injected much-needed energy into modern-day international affairs,” he added.
He said that Pakistan and much of the world welcomed China in its greater role of the world stage in the new era.
Speaking on the occasion, a scholar from Tsinghua University, He Maoqun, who had been visiting Pakistan frequently, opined that the CPEC provided a number of opportunities for the bilateral cooperation in the infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, culture, education and irrigation.
He said that people to people exchange were important to bring the two countries further closer and hoped that friendly and brotherly relations between China and Pakistan would continue in a generation after generation.
Earlier, Executive Dean, Institute of the Belt and Road Initiative, Tsinghua University, Shi Zhiqin welcomed the Ambassador and lauded his very important role in the promotion of BRI.
He said that Pakistan and China were all-weather friends and had a shared partnership which was a unique example in the world.—Agencies