Roundup: CPEC brings tremendous socio-economic benefits to Pakistan, says Pakistani experts
ISLAMABAD, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has brought tremendous socio-economic benefits to Pakistan, transforming vital sectors and generating sustainable development in the South Asian country, Pakistani experts have said.
Over the past 10 years, CPEC has emerged as a corridor of opportunities for Pakistan and its people, and improved people's lives and overall economic prosperity, said officials and experts during a seminar organized here to celebrate 10 years of CPEC and the BRI on Monday.
Launched in 2013, CPEC is a corridor linking the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan with Kashgar in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which highlights energy, transport and industrial cooperation.
Talking to Xinhua, Pakistani caretaker Minister for National Heritage and Culture Syed Jamal Shah said that the longstanding deep-rooted friendship between China and Pakistan has been strengthened since the inception of the multi-billion-dollar project, elevating from diplomatic to robust economic relations.
"Both countries worked hand-in-hand and turned a vision of prosperity into a reality through CPEC ... all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between Pakistan and China in producing fruitful win-win outcomes set a fine example for the rest of the world," the minister said.
Talat Shabbir, director of the China-Pakistan Study Center at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, a Pakistan-based think tank said that during the first phase of CPEC, the focus remained on infrastructure development, energy cooperation, Gwadar port development, and people-to-people connectivity.
The projects under CPEC have helped Pakistan overcome severe energy shortages by adding 8,000 megawatts of electricity and building hundreds of kilometers of road infrastructure, he said, adding that the project also brought over 25 billion U.S. dollars in direct investment and generated huge job opportunities.
Shabbir said that the construction of roads and railway networks, ports and airports in the country under CPEC has enhanced connectivity and boosted trade.
"The country's Gwadar Port established under CPEC would act as a regional trade and commerce hub, benefiting not only Pakistan but other landlocked Asian countries as well," he said.
On the occasion, Masood Khalid, former Pakistani ambassador to China, said China has not only achieved remarkable growth at home but also shared its development dividends with developing countries around the globe including Pakistan through the BRI.
He said Pakistan should learn from the best practices of China to strengthen its economic resilience, adding that Pakistan needed to further promote cooperation in various sectors including agriculture, industry and trade, and information technology for sustainable economic growth.
Speaking about challenges and geopolitical complexities, the officials and experts believed that it is imperative for Pakistan and China to devise robust strategies and remove bottlenecks coming the way to ensure the continuity of progress and peace in the region and beyond.