IICR Online Conference Speakers agreed to enhance horizon of CPEC from economics to technology, tourism

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The Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution organized an online conference titled “CPEC Intra-Regional Cooperation Beyond South Asia”.

It was arranged to highlight and broaden the concept of CPEC in a broader aspect. The panellists included Dr. Talat Shabbir, Director Pakistan-China Study Centre ISSI, Amb.

Naghmana Hashmi, Former Ambassador to China; Prof. Dr. Zhou Rong, Senior Fellow at Renmin University, Beijing and Mr. Dawood Butt, CEO K-Bot. Ms. Sabah Aslam, Executive Director, Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution – IICR, moderated the session.

While speaking to the panel, Dr. Shabbir talked about the high economic stakes involved in the CPEC of both China and Pakistan. Keeping in view the stakes, Pakistan shifted its policy from Geo-strategy to Geo-Economics, said, Dr. Shabbir.

He added further that there are two more corridors under BRI from which Pakistan can benefit; one is China’s Central and West Asia Corridor, and the other is New Eurasian Land Bridge.

The next speaker on the panel was Amb. Naghmana Hashmi. She said that it needs to be remembered that CPEC is not a standalone program. It is very much an integral part of China’s mega-project BRI.

Adding further, she said that the whole idea of CPEC was to go beyond the region, and it does that by providing the shortest route to Africa other regions. It was the selling pitch of CPEC when it was started, and it remained central to it.

Furthermore, she said that the whole idea of going beyond the region could not be fully practised unless the challenges of Afghanistan could not be solved.

Afghanistan can only be the ground of opportunities and avenues for CPEC if Pakistan has more to offer other than humanitarian assistance, said Ms. Hashmi.

Prof. Dr. Zhou Rong said that China works on the philosophy of creating a better world and shared future of Humanity, and this has been implemented through BRI and CPEC so those friendly countries can have a better way of life.

It is not hidden that the bond both countries share goes decades back; both played irreplaceable roles for each other, said Prof. Rong.

He further said that Pakistani people need to understand China more to enhance the interaction between countries. He added more that CPEC enabled Pakistan to train its people for the future. Phase-I is done, Phase-II is going on, and Phase-III will be soon operational.

Mr. Hassan Daud Butt said that Pakistan would be 100 years old in 30 years with an ever-increasing population of more than 220 million, which is alarming at every level.

Discussing further, he said that more people mean more job market which can only be filled through the strong innovative economy, and CPEC is playing its key role in it.

He added further that investments could only come if there is suitable and substantial infrastructure. Unless there is proper infrastructure, there will not be any investment.

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