ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Monday said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would not only serve as a “game-changer” for Pakistan, but a “fate-changer” for entire region by helping it rid of economic deprivation and attain peace and prosperity.
“The CPEC is a new concept of diplomacy based on shared goals of prosperity for Pakistan and the region, and a project to eliminate poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment,” the Prime Minister said in his address here at the inaugural session of the two-day China Pakistan Economic Corridor Summit and Expo.
He said the project would usher in prosperity in the region comprising 3 billion of the world’s population, almost half of the world.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said CPEC was not merely a strategic agreement between Pakistan and China, but successful completion of their 65 years of friendship.
He urged upon the Pakistani and Chinese nations to interact with each other as “friends and brothers” to make their economies stronger.
“By working together, we can bring peace and stability in the region through economic development of our people,” the Prime Minister.
He said the two sides always supported each other in times of distress and recalled Chinese assistance to Pakistan following the devastating earthquake in 2005 and floods in 2010.
He said Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Pakistan in 2014, told the parliament that Pakistan stood by China when it was isolated.
Now, China has reached out to Pakistan when it stands economically isolated, Nawaz Sharif recalled the statement of President Xi.
Nawaz Sharif termed the relationship between he two countries as “very special” and said the two countries had always supported each other at international fora, with a spirit based on trust and honesty.
He termed CPEC the “most important initiative of 21st century” and said it perfectly complimented Pakistan’s vision 2025.
Sharif said Pakistan was an emerging economy with rich natural resources. He mentioned the highest GDP in last eight years, with best performing stock market, doubling of the foreign exchange reserves and improved security environment.
He said the economic value of the project was $46 billion, however added that the real impact was many times more and would have a longer lasting effect.
The PM said the project would not only improve Pakistan’s own infrastructure but would also provide it the much needed know-how, knowledge and expertise in new technologies.
He said CPEC would not only create a strong overland link between Pakistan and China but also provide an opportunity to strengthen Pakistan’s own inland transportation and logistics infrastructure.
More than ten billion dollars would be spent on railway projects as well as rail infrastructure in Pakistan, Sharif said.
He said 35 billion dollars would be invested in energy sectors alone to produce 10,400MW of electricity.
The Prime Minister said the project would benefit all regions of Pakistan and equally benefit Gilgit-Baltistan, remote areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
He described development of Gwadar as the “jewel project” of the entire CPEC, with its own power generation, road, rail and air-links and would serve as a model smart port city.
“Our vision of development is based on inclusive approach for region’s harmony,” he said.
Nawaz Sharif mentioned that China would also construct a highway with a cost of 162 million dollars to connect with the Gwadar airport to be built with 230 million dollar, by December 2017.
The event was attended by President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi, Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Hafiz Hafeezullah, Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong, Pakistan’s ambassador to China Masood Khalid, Speaker Balochistan Assembly Raheela Durrani, President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Abdur Rauf Alam, parliamentarians and leading industrialists.
The Summit held here at the Pakistan China Friendship Centre was hosted by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform and marked the third anniversary of Joint Coordination Committee on CPEC.
Meanwhile, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal said that out of $46 billion projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), projects worth $18 billion were under full and active implementation phase while projects $17 billion were in pipeline and in advance stage of approval.
In his welcome address during inaugural session of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Expo organized by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms here, he said, it was unprecedented in the history that a piece of paper had been converted into an investment portfolio of $46 billion.
All it happened owing to visionary Pak-China leadership, adding, “I must acknowledge commitment and hard work of officials of both the countries who worked day and night to make the CPEC a reality,” he added.
He said the leaders of Pakistan and China successfully translated the political relations into a strategic and economic partnership in such a short time.
Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan and China friendship had entered to a strong economic partnership, adding, today, China was number one foreign investor in Pakistan.
He pointed out that projects being completed under CPEC at Bin Qasim, Sahiwal, Karakuram Highways, Western Route, Sukkur-Karachi motorway, the dream of prosperity in the region was now a reality which had drawn attention of the world.
The Minister said, the CPEC was not only a network of roads, energy projects, infrastructure but it was a framework. The presence of all the provincial governments reflected the fact that there was complete consensus over the projects being completed under the CPEC.
He observed that the CPEC would not complete until the prosperity reached every nook and corner of the country.
He expressed the confidence that within two year, energy would be available for every sector after completion of first phase of the initiative.
About the summit, he said the summit was organized to mark the signing of historic $46 billion CPEC programme. It would provide a platform for exchanging ideas and open new avenues for increasing business.
This would help for strengthening business to business relationships besides enabling provinces to explore opportunities in CPEC to promote inclusive development and it would also help to create strong links between academia and industry for collaborative research in areas relating of CPEC.
He said, the CPEC Summit would bring opportunities for Pakistani investors and would enable them to develop collaboration with Chinese enterprises.
It would also create awareness about CPEC among private sector of Pakistan and about developing business opportunities, he added.
Expressing complete solidarity and harmony over the fast-paced implementation of $46 billion CPEC, the provincial chief ministers on Monday said they are aware of the plots of enemies against the mega project, expressing the resolve to stand united to foil their sordid designs at all costs.
Addressing the CPEC summit and expo here they said the corridor project has already started paying the dividend as more foreign investors are evincing interest to invest in different sectors of economy.
The CMs from KP, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan in their addresses highlighted the potential sectors where the Chinese investors can make their investments.
Later in the evening Finance Minister Ishaq Dar who was chief guest at concluding session said that Pakistan will be self- sufficient country by end of 2018.
Dar further said that after CPEC energy projects Pakistan will be able to able to export electricity to neighbouring countries.
The government has started a number of power projects across the country utilizing all resources including hydel, coal and wind to cater the energy needs said Ishaq Dar. He added Pakistan is an attractive country for investment. He said Pakistan has great potential of growth and excellent future. He said during the last three years great achievements have been made in the economy of the country. Pakistan will jump to 18th from 40th biggest economy of the world by 2050, Dar said.
He added Pakistan’s Stock Exchange is declared as Asian Tiger stock market of the region reservoirs to meet the future water demands of the country besides generating electricity.
The Finance Minister said that due to improving law and order situation in the country attract highest number of tourist in the country in the last two years. CPEC summit has provided an excellent opportunity for exchange of ideas and enabled stakeholders to share information with foreign dignitaries said finance Minister. Staff Reporter