ISLAMABAD, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Allama Iqbal Industrial City, a special economic zone (SEZ) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the east Faisalabad city on Friday, the prime minister's office said.
Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of the SEZ, the prime minister termed CPEC as a golden opportunity for industrial development of Pakistan and the SEZ the first step towards the prosperous future of his country.
China is Pakistan's close friend, and it is developing with leaps and bounds in every field, he said, adding that Pakistan has a great opportunity to make progress by learning from China, and diversifying CPEC by developing industrial and agricultural sectors to boost economic cooperation with China.
"Many Chinese industrialists want to invest in Pakistan. I met many Chinese businessmen during my visit to China last year and they showed keen interest in investing here provided we give them suitable environment. This SEZ will provide that environment to them and give them confidence to relocate their industries in Pakistan."
Lauding Chinese investors, Khan said that they will not only invest in Pakistan, but also transfer technology to the country by relocating their industries which will help Pakistani people get trained in using modern technology.
Talking about the rising number of unemployed youth in his country, the prime minister said that the industrialization process in the country will also open employment opportunities for the youth.
"Pakistan needs to have intensive industrialization to increase its exports for wealth creation. The unemployment problem cannot be solved only by the country's agro-based economy. We need industries to shoulder this responsibility."
Citing China's example to bring out a large number of people from poverty through wealth creation, Khan said his country also wants to follow the same model, and Pakistani officials had several briefings by Chinese on poverty alleviation, during their visit to China.
"We want to do exactly what China did. We want to create wealth by increasing our exports and spending the generated revenues on the poor strata of the society."
According to the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's official Twitter account, the Allama Iqbal Industrial City is likely to have investment of 400 billion Pakistani rupees (about 2.58 bln U.S. dollars), and create 300,000 direct and 1 million indirect employments.
The SEZ is likely to have more than 557 industries in various sectors including integrated textile, food processing, construction material, pharmaceutical, automobiles, and steel. So far committed investment in the SEZ amounts to more than 1 billion U.S. dollars including 204 million U.S. dollars local investment, the ruling party stated.
The SEZ is one of the nine SEZs planned to be built under CPEC across Pakistan. The SEZs are quoted as lifelines of Pakistan's industrial development by Pakistani officials as they are likely to create over 2 million employments across the country, besides enhancing exports and uplifting several potential sectors of the country.