Speakers urge inclusion of AJK, GB in CPEC projects

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Zubair Qureshi

Pakistan needs to work on greater integration of locals, private sectors as well as the overseas Pakistanis into the China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects’,

Ambassador Syed Hassan Javed, Director Chinese Study Centre, the National University of Science & Technology expressed these views while participating in a webinar on the ‘Regional Integration and CPEC: The Case of Gwadar Port’ organized by the Institute of Regional Studies.

He stressed the need to adopt an innovative approach for the second phase of the CPEC to un-tap huge multi-sectoral potentials between the two countries.

Ambassador Javed shrugged off the impression that Chabahar and Gwadar, Dubai, and Dammam were the strategic rivals, rather these ports were complimentary to CPEC, which he called the ‘sister ports of CPEC’.

While speaking on the occasion, Dr Mir Sadaat Baloch, Asst Professor at the University of Baluchistan, called for inclusion of Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan into the CEPC projects, adding that manufacturing, information, and communication technology also need to be incorporated in the second phase.

In terms of establishing the Economic Zones, Dr Baloch said, “We were lagging as we were only able to operationalize the one zone so far.”

He regretted losing energy-related projects in the CPEC which he thought were the ‘backbone of CPEC’.

He was of the view that the shortcomings of the first phase had actually led us to the IMF, adding that in the second phase the focus should be towards local participations wherein he suggested giving contracts to the local contractors.

We need to invest in enhancing labour skills which he argued were crucial for the success of CPEC projects and equally important for social integration and public support.

In his closing remarks, he called the regional integration process to be ‘policy oriented’ rather idiosyncratic.

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