ISLAMABAD: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will help regional countries in reducing poverty and to bring in durable peace, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday.
Addressing the inaugural session of the two-day CPEC Summit and Expo to enhance awareness about the ambitious project, Sharif said the project would not only serve as a “game-changer” for Pakistan, but also for entire region by helping it rid of deprivation and bringing peace and prosperity.
The prime minister termed it a “new concept in diplomacy” and said it would help in elimination of poverty and unemployment.
The premier said CPEC was not merely a strategic agreement, but culmination of a decade-long friendship between Pakistan and China. He said it was an advanced stage of relationship in the history of cooperation and collaboration between the two countries on issues of global importance.
He said the two sides never left each other in times of distress and recalled Chinese assistance to Pakistan following the devastating earthquake in 2005 and floods in 2010.
He said during his visit to Pakistan, President Xi Jinping told the parliament that Pakistan stood by China when it was isolated. He said now China has reached out to the country when Pakistan stood economically isolated.
He termed the relationship between the two countries as “very special” and said the two countries have always supported each other at international fora and was based on basis of trust and honesty.
He termed CPEC most important initiative of 21st century and said it perfectly complements Pakistan’s vision 2025.
Sharif said Pakistan was an emerging economy and was rich in natural resources. He mentioned the highest GDP in last eight years, with best performing stock market, doubling of the foreign exchange reserves and improvement of security environment.
He said the economic value of the project was $46 billion dollars, however, the real impact was many times more and would have a longer lasting effect.
He 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 $35bn would be invested in energy sectors alone to produce 10400MW of electricity.
The project will benefit all regions of Pakistan equally including Gilgit Baltistan and remote areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, said the PM.
He described development of Gwadar as the “jewel project” of the entire CPEC, with its own power generation, road, rail and air links and said it would serve as a “model smart port city”.
The event was attended by Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Chairman Parliamentary Committee on CPEC Mushahidullah Khan, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong and leading industrialists, ambassadors, businessmen.
The Summit held here at the Pakistan China Friendship Centre was hosted by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform and marks the inking of historic $46bn CPEC project. It was inaugurated earlier in the day by the prime minister.