CPEC, a game changer for Pakistan: PM Abbasi

Beijing: Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has branded the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a “game changer” for the country.

Calling the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and CPEC “a transformative project representing economic cooperation between Islamabad and Beijing,” Abbasi said that the BRI is “a truly global public good”, which has been planned to benefit the people living in geographically distinct areas, the People’s Daily reported.

He also noted that the successful implementation of the BRI would lead to improved power lines, better roads and infrastructure and encouragement of the use of sustainable energy.

“As the flagship project of the BRI, CPEC epitomises the vision of the two countries for comprehensive and broad-based economic cooperation. The energy projects conceived under CPEC have alleviated the energy crisis in Pakistan and we have been successful in adding thousands of megawatts of electricity to the national grid,” Abbasi said.

Expressing satisfaction on the progress of energy projects of the USD 62 billion economic corridor, he added, “CPEC energy projects have diversified Pakistan’s energy mix with investments in the country’s hydro, wind, solar and hydrocarbon energy sectors, which is a matter of satisfaction for me,” he added.

Calling the CPEC project a “game changer” for Pakistan, Abbasi stressed that the initial phase of the economic corridor was progressing well and so, a network of roads and the infrastructure at Gwadar Port in Balochistan were being developed on a priority basis.

The Pakistan Prime Minister further said that the next stage of developing the CPEC project was to set up Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which would lead to the strengthening of the country’s economy and creating employment opportunities.

“Early completion of the road and rail network and modernization and development of Gwadar Port are also expected to transform Pakistan from an agrarian economy to a logistics’ hub transporting goods from China to the region and the world,” Abbasi said.

“CPEC will enhance Pakistan’s connectivity not only with China but with Central and South Asia and beyond,” he added, noting that it would help to expand bilateral and regional trade, promote economic integration, and foster economic development in the country.

Abbasi further said that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s concept of “Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind” was “not only revolutionary but also ties in beautifully with CPEC.”

“Together with China, we look forward to making Pakistan a major contributor to ‘building a community of shared future for mankind’ through CPEC,” he concluded.

The BRI aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of Silk Road. It will bring opportunities in multiple fields including trade, connectivity, physical infrastructure development, tourism and investment.

The CPEC project, which is a part of this initiative, has been criticised by India since it passes through disputed Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK) region. On the other hand, China has said that it had respected all territorial laws and that the issue was an “internal matter” between New Delhi and Islamabad.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday clarified that China’s BRI violated India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. (ANI)