Time riped 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.
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.
Earlier, in his welcome address, President IPRI, Ambassador
(Retd) Abdul Basit said CPEC has provided an avenue of cooperation
for many regional and extra-regional countries to further their
economic interests.

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