BEIJING: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Tuesday termed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a manifestation of strategic relationship and said that the project has proved as a “catalyst of growth, poverty alleviation and job creation”.
“The CPEC is a beacon of progress and prosperity. It is not just an economic corridor, but a symbol of Pak-China strategic trust,” he said in an interaction with representatives of leading Chinese think-tanks and scholars.
PM Kakar, who is in China on an official visit to attend the Belt and Road Forum, said the CPEC had transformed the socio-economic landscape of Pakistan, upgrading modern infrastructure, enhancing regional connectivity and ensuring energy security, the official news agency reported.
He mentioned that since the launch of CPEC during the landmark visit of President Xi Jinping to Pakistan in 2015, the project resulted in addition of 800 kilometres of roads, and creation of 8,000 megawatt electricity, and 0.2 million job opportunities.
He expressed confidence that as a project of socio-economic prosperity and sustainable development, CPEC would usher in a new era of development and regional prosperity.
The prime minister recalled that the Chinese vice president during his visit to Pakistan this August outlined five corridors of comprehensive development including growth, livelihood, innovation, greenness, and openness.
He proposed that the next phase of CPEC should be deeper integration of economy so as to tap the potential of development for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
Kakar said being the native of Balochistan, he was cognizant of the potential of the area and added that “in collaboration with China, we are poised to unlock opportunities of progress and regional connectivity in Gwadar”.
As part of green technology, he invited the Chinese companies to invest in solar energy sector and called for strengthening energy linkages between Gilgit and Xingiang region.
He said during his upcoming visit to Urumqi in China, he would discuss with stakeholders the opportunities to bring closer collaboration with the Chinese in diverse fields.
Kakar said Pakistan’s huge youth bulge could contribute to the country’s economy provided they are given opportunities besides learning from the Chinese experience.
He said Pakistan enjoyed close and valuable ties with China and would not allow anything to undermine this unique relationship.
Noting the progress of CPEC over the last 10 years, the prime minister underlined the importance of reflecting on the journey thus far, identifying the successes, reviewing the lessons learned, and charting out a map for the next phase of high-quality development of the project.
He also shared that the two sides had agreed to convert the CPEC into a corridor of growth, livelihood, innovation, openness and green development.
In their remarks, Chinese academics and scholars underscored the importance and significance of CPEC as a great partnership between Pakistan and China under BRI.
They also reaffirmed the continued interest of Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan’s Special Economic Zones and to contribute to the further growth of CPEC, enhanced regional connectivity and sustainable development.
At the roundtable, the participants agreed that through collective efforts of the two nations, CPEC can become a pivot for regional trade and connectivity and a bridge for people-to-people contacts.
Prior to his address to the think-tanks, the prime minister in his post on social media platform X said he had a productive meeting with Ren Libo, President of the Grandview Institution.
“We discussed shared goals and vision for the future. Grateful for his useful input and looking forward to further strengthening the fraternal bond between Pakistan and China,” the prime minister said.