Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms and Interior, Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday said that after embarking upon mega project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the long standing ties between two countries had been turned into true economic relationship which is shown by the fact that within a short period of three years, China has become number 1 country in term of Foreign Direct Investment in Pakistan.
“Pakistan and China have enjoyed close and strong relationship but prior to CPEC, our partnership on economic front was nowhere,” Ahsan Iqbal said while addressing at an event hosted by Ministry of Planning to celebrate Chinese New Year and to mark five years of CPEC progress here.
He said benefits of CPEC were not limited to the two countries but would go beyond the regions.
The fruits of CPEC, he said are ripening now as people of Pakistan especially those from less developed areas are being connected to urban centers with the completion of road projects under the Corridor, resulting in reduction poverty level in the country.
Ahsan Iqbal observed that huge natural resources of Thar coal remained unexploited for last seven decades, however thanks to CPEC, work on Thar coal mining and power project are underway. “Thar coal resources will help in generating 5000 MW annually for at least 400 year”.
He said work on energy, infrastructure, and industrial zones projects is progressing well and Pakistan would become an industrial hub after completion these projects under CPEC in near future.
The minister said the mega project of CPEC was not only reshaping Pakistan's infrastructure and making it economically developed country but it is also providing China, an opportunity to make its dream of great belt and road initiative a reality by using this platform.
He said political stability was vital to achieve sustainable development goals. He sighted an example that China was fully focused on political stability in order to achieve the economic goals while Russia lagged far behind due to instability in the country.
He said Pakistan was in a takeoff mode now, however he said political stability was a must to ensure smooth economic take off.
Meanwhile, Ambassador of China to Pakistan, Yao Jing said that CPEC was a project of two nations with shared destiny.
He informed that at present six major projects under CEPC had been completed while 14 were under process. Moreover he said that 20 more projects were in the pipeline and these would be materialized soon.
The event was also attended by Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Secretary Planning Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, CPEC project Director Hassan Daud, Deputy Director Shaukat Khattak, and a large number of Chinese diplomats and businessmen.