Naveed Ahmad Khan
One day conference on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) titled as “CPEC: A Way Forward” held here at local hotel. The conference was Organized by Islamabad Institute for Conflict Resolutions (IICR) which focused on the importance of CPEC for the region. The Executive Director of IICR Ms. Sabah Aslam opened the conference by claiming that with the emergence of CPEC, strengthening of long-standing relationship that Pakistan and China share in the realm of politics, economy and strategy is a compelling truth of the contemporary international relations.
Zhao Lijian, DCM and Minister Counsellor to the Embassy of China, congratulated to Pakistan on the success of CPEC. He claimed that he will make a few observations and began by reiterating that just like in China, there is a broader national consensus in Pakistan regarding CPEC. This consensus goes not just across border but extends to all areas and provinces of Pakistan. He also pointed out that this project began during the era of President Zardari and to this day this plan has been going on.
Lijian said that this is a long term plan which benefits people on both side. The major areas in which CPEC operates are; economy, energy and infrastructure. He further elaborated that after the success of the first phase, CPEC is moving towards its second phase which operates in four areas; more exhaustive work on infrastructure like Motorway 5; from Multan to Sukkur which is hopefully going to be finished ahead of time and launched by August.
He also highlighted that there is also going to be a major focus on the railway up-gradation from Karachi towards Peshawar and from Single Line to Double Line. Previously the speed would be 60 km/h and after this upgrade it will become 160 km/h. these will not affect the current operations and will take around 6 years to complete. Senator Rehman Malik said that reiterated the importance of friendship between Pakistan and China. He referred to history and recalled that whenever other state was there to support Pakistan, China was the one which stood by.
He claimed that the relationship is not just between the countries but in true essence it’s between the two nations. This is a solid relationship which has evaded many things in history. The way in which they are performing and will continue to perform is indeed praise-worthy. When we say that the relationship is higher than the mountains and deeper than the sea and CPEC is the way via which the mountains and sea have become connected.
Maj. Gen. (R) Raza Muhammad (Chairman, IICR) said that a Harbinger of Societal Emancipation for Pakistan and A Way to Regional Peace and Stability. The main gist was that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a harbinger of societal emancipation that is expected to usher a longer lasting, multifaceted socio-economic progression, not only in Pakistan but the Region as well, thereby helping stabilise the Region that is in a volatile state since 1979. Pakistan’s socio economic fabric has been tattered by the decades of instability. Society and economy developed fissures that were fully exploited by the inimical forces.