BEIJING: Pakistan Ambassador to China, Masood Khalid has reaffirmed that regardless of any political change in Pakistan in wake of the forthcoming general elections, the commitment towards the successful completion of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would not change.
He said addressing a select gathering at “Belt and Road Initiative International Think-Tank Launch Meeting” held.
He said friendship with China is the cornerstone of our foreign policy. This friendship is deeply embedded in the hearts of Pakistani people.
He said that 2018 was the year of general elections in Pakistan and a new government was expected to be formed in August or September this year, following the general elections. “I would like to reaffirm that regardless of any political change in Pakistan, our commitment towards the successful completion of CPEC will not change,” he added.
Ambassador Khalid said, together, Pakistan and China would work towards forging a community of shared destiny.
He said in less than five years, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) had transformed from a vision into a reality, adding “We can see the impact of this initiative in several parts of the world.
From cooperation in building ports to joint ventures in highways and rail networks, the BRI is gradually changing the landscape of Euro-Asia.” He said the BRI had not only gained the support of many countries from Asia, Europe, Africa and South America, but also several international organizations. More and more countries and organizations wanted to be a part of BRI. He pointed out that the BRI was not just about roads, bridges, railways, and ports. Besides enhancing connectivity, which was the physical infrastructure, the BRI’s connectivity goals also include policy coordination, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people contacts.
“The BRI is inclusive, open and provides opportunities for all countries and regions,” he added. Pakistan, he said, was an important link in the BRI as it is located at the confluence of both the Belt and the Road. “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is not only the flagship project of BRI but also the only bilateral venture under BRI that has seen good progress on the ground,” he added. Ambassador Khalid said, CPEC has strategic and economic significance for both countries.
Under China’s western development strategy, CPEC aimed to connect Kashgar with Gwadar through roads, rail and sea routes. “Along the routes, there will be industrial parks and Special Economic Zones, oil and gas pipelines and fiber optic cable,” he added. On the progress on CPEC, he said, under the guidance of the leadership of both countries, it had achieved good progress in energy, infrastructure, and Gwadar port and added, “Pakistan’s energy crisis has been resolved to a large extent.
Work on major infrastructure projects is underway which will remove the bottlenecks to economic development in Pakistan.” Terming Gwadar port as the core of CPEC, he said it would not only become a trade and transit hub but will also provide China an alternative route for its trade with the Middle East. Gwadar could also provide access to Central Asian countries. “The two sides are now working to establish industrial parks and special economic zones in Pakistan. This will not only boost industrialization in Pakistan but will also help in the transfer of technology from China,” he added.
Published in Daily Times, May 15th 2018.