October 7, 2022
ISLAMABAD – Pakistani President Dr Arif Alvi has underlined the importance of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in promoting international trade routes and achieving prosperity through mutual cooperation.
The CPEC, a landmark program of the Belt and Road Initiative raised by China, is the modern version of the long-standing tradition of international trade and linkages through the Silk Road.
President Alvi was addressing as Chief Guest the “Round Table Conference III: Kashgar to Gwadar and Beyond” organized by the Daily Pakistan Observer at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on Oct 4. Ambassador of China Nong Rong was the keynote speaker on the occasion.
The President said as the Silk Route brought East and West closer through trade, the CPEC will also promote the worldwide linkages.
He recalled that Pakistan and China realized the importance of bilateral trade as early as the 1950s. These relations prospered into a wide range of mutually beneficial cooperation.
The CPEC now is a high mark of close friendly relations between the two countries and will not only promote economic development in Pakistan but will also promote linkages of Pakistan and China with the world at large, he said.
He made a special mention of transport infrastructure being developed in Pakistan under the CPEC project and observed that roads and highways were the gateway to progress. Pakistan’s economic policies would remain consistent and would not change with change of a regime, said the president.
This is of utmost importance to win the confidence of investors, said the president. The president called for providing incentives to local as well as foreign investors in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) being set up under the CPEC project.
The president referred to the Chinese model of promoting small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for a wholesome economic progress and said the government should emulate a similar model here in Pakistan.
He was all praise for the Chinese model of poverty alleviation and their health program and expressed the hope that Pakistan would one day tread the same path adopted by China and promote SMEs.
President Arif Alvi appreciated the efforts of Pakistan Observer’s Editor-in-Chief Mr Faisal Zahid Malik and Executive Editor, Mr Gauhar Zahid Malik for organizing a timely Round Table Conference at an hour when the country is confronting multiple economic challenges.
He also praised the role of the Pakistan Observer in promoting economic progress and friendship between Pakistan and China.
“This third round table by Pakistan Observer reflects the daily’s belief and sincerity in future prosperity of Pakistan which we shall achieve by making collective efforts,” the president summed up.
Addressing the RTC III, Ambassador of China Nong Rong said Gwadar was emerging as a regional hub of trade and economic activities. He was pleased to note that vital projects have been undertaken in Gwadar in the framework of CPEC.
Some of them have already been completed while the others are in the process of completion. An international airport will start receiving flights from next year. A vocational training institute has been set up for the training of local youth.
China has assisted Pakistan in power projects generating 5,200 MW while 886-km national transmission Network has been completed. Besides, 510-km roads have been constructed under the CPEC. Moreover, 7,000 sets of solar energy cells have been installed in Gwadar to address the energy needs.
The Chinese envoy emphasized the CPEC project has generated huge employment opportunities and out of 5,000 jobs generated in Gwadar, 4,000 are local employees. He was of the view that after the completion of the first phase of the CPEC, various projects in the field of agriculture, industry, science & technology are being undertaken on priority basis.
In order to boost the local economy, local beef and lamb are being exported to China and in January-August this year alone, agricultural products worth US$730 million have been exported to China from Pakistan.
Ambassador Nong highly appreciated the security measures being taken by Pakistan to address the Chinese business firms and investors’ concerns. Pakistan has recently set up a separate cell to ensure the security of the Chinese personnel engaged in the CPEC projects, he said.
Editor-in-Chief of Pakistan Observer, Mr Faisal Zahid Malik in his welcome address at the RTC-III said Pakistan is blessed with vast natural and human resources and is in reality a paradise for investors.
The CPEC, he said, provides historic opportunity to the investors both local and foreign. He highlighted the role of Pakistan Observer in promoting the objectives of the CPEC and all-weather friendship between Pakistan and China.
Speaking at the Pakistan Observer’s RTC-III, Chairman of HMR Group Haji Muhammad Rafiq Pardesi said development of Gwadar Port is a landmark achievement and it will not only help in economic development of the country but will also help in removing the deprivation of Balochistan.
“No doubt China is a time-tested friend of Pakistan and it helped in creating business opportunities through CPEC,” he said, expressing the hope that other countries will follow China and will invest in Pakistan.
Haji RafiqPardesi said poverty in Pakistan can be alleviated if the example set by China is followed by the mindset of the elite class is positively changed.
Attending the RTC were also China Railway Group Ltd & Vice Chair of APCEA Wang Wensheng, Country Representative, China State Construction Engineering Corporation (Pvt) Ltd and Vice Chair of APCEA Qin Guomin, Group Director, S. Zia-Ul-Haq & Sons Muhammad Mujtaba, Muhammad Sohaib (S. Zia-Ul-Haq & Sons), Chairman MRDL, MCC Resources Development Company (Pvt) Ltd He Xuping, Senior Vice President MRLD, MCC Resources Development Company (Pvt) Ltd, Muhammad Nawaz Khan, Ambassador of the State of Palestine, Ahmed Jawad Amine Rabei, Ambassador of Morocco Muhamad Karmoune, High Commissioner of Mauritius Rashidally Soobadar, Ambassador of Republic Korea Suh Sangpyo, Ambassador of Indonesia, Adam M Tugio, Ambassador of Kuwait, Nassar Abdulrahman J. Almutairi, Chairman of the Nazriya Pakistan Council (NPC) Mian Muhammad Javed, former secretary Abdullah Yousuf, Chief Operating Officer, Askari Commercial Bank Ltd Khurshid Zafar, Vice Chancellor of Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB) Prof Dr Athar Mehboob, Member Executive Committee of the NPC Manzoor Masih, prominent business leaders and heads of financial institutions.
The authors are with Pakistan Observer, Islamabad.