Ali Zafar asks regional countries to join, share dividends of CPEC

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Pakistan’s socio-economic indicators improving: Chinese envoy

Zubair Qureshi

Interim Minister for Information, Broadcasting, National History & Literary Heritage, Syed Ali Zafar has urged the international community to participate, share and benefit from the industrial parks to be set up in Pakistan under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. He said this while addressing a regional seminar held at the library auditorium of the Institute of Strategic Studies here on Monday. The seminar was organized by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS).
Ambassador of China to Pakistan, Yao Jing was the keynote speaker on the occasion. Eminent scholar Dr Riffat Hussain, Ambassador Khalid Mehmood, a large number of intellectuals, former diplomats and ambassadors, strategic experts and those with pretty good experience of foreign affairs attended the seminar. They held the title “Crossroads of Regional Integration” and timing of the seminar was quite appropriate as Pakistan was standing at a crossroads to join the progressive nations and be a catalyst for change with the support of its all-weather friend China.
Ali Zafar also shared the same views and pointed out that the multi-billion dollar CPEC envisaged enormous potential for the regional integration. He emphatically stated that it was Pakistan’s prerogative to firm up its economic policy. No other country has the right to interfere in it. The Minister while responding to the questions from audience categorically stated there was no connection between the CPEC and the loans of IMF and it was a misconception, a mindboggling theory that a country is drawing connections between them.
Barrister Ali Zafar said Pakistan had no aggressive designs against any other country. He said we will continue to play role for peace and stability in the world. The Information Minister stressed that peace and stability in Afghanistan is key to achieve the goal of regional integration. He said it is a matter of satisfaction that now both Pakistan and Afghanistan are on the same page on matters of peace and security. Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said China took Road and Belt initiative to increase tangible as well intangible integration. He said Pakistan lies at a strategic location and its centrality is vital for regional initiatives like Economic Cooperation Organization and Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Chinese ambassador said Pakistan has proved to be a reliable and trusted partner of China and a responsible state for regional cooperation.
Replying to a question, he said China encouraged cooperation between the regional countries. On Pak-India relations, he said Kashmir is one of the oldest disputes and a major stumbling block in the way of normalized relations between the two countries. He appreciated the felicitation call of Indian Prime Minister Modi to PTI Chairman Imran Khan as an encouraging symbol for improving relations between the two neighbors.

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