CPEC not less than atomic programme: Ahsan

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Salim Ahmed

Lahore—Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Prof Ahsan Iqbal has said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor is not less important than Pakistan’s atomic program so we must not do politics just like we avoided politicizing atomic program.
He was addressing a seminar on “CPEC: Opportunities, Priorities and Challenges” jointly organized by Punjab University CPEC Study Group and Mir Khalil ur Rehman Memorial Society here on Monday.
PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran, senior journalists including Munno Bhai, Sohail Warraich, Tayyaba Zia Cheema, Wasif Nagi, President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industries Abdul Basit Khan, Chairman TEVTA Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, Convener CPEC Study Group Dr Hafiz Zafar Ahmed, faculty members and a large number of students were present on the occasion.
Addressing the ceremony, Prof Ahsan Iqbal said that CPEC was aimed at making economy of the country invincible but some elements were doing politics over CPEC unnecessarily. He said that all the provincial chief ministers had supported CPEC and all the provinces would benefit from the project. He said that South Asia, China and Central Asia were the engines of growth and Pakistan was located in the centre. He said that we would utilize Pakistan’s geo-strategic advantage for her geo-economic advantage.
He said the duration of whole CPEC project was from 2014 to 2030 in phases. He said that the short term projects would be completed by 2020, mid-term programs would be completed by 2025 and long term projects would be completed by 2030. He said that we would turn Gawadar into a model port city like Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore. He said that airport, technical university, hospitals etc would be built at Gawadar. He said that energy projects would also be set up at Gawadar. He said after completion of energy projects, surplus energy would be produced and the government had vowed to provide electricity at low cost.
He said that we had also enhanced portfolio of energy production and we would benefit from coal reservoirs of Pakistan and produce electricity at low cost. He said that the infrastructure of all the four provinces and Gilgit Baltistan would be improved. He said that the government had recently completed construction of 650km roads linking Gawadar. He said that it used to take two days to reach Gawadar from Quetta and now it was just an 8-hour travel. He said that the exploiters in Balochistan were fearing that development of infrastructure might not improve socio-economic conditions of common people, which would empower people and give them liberty.