CPEC benefits will reach to people: COAS

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In this photograph taken on November 16, 2016, Pakistani Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa watches a military exercise on the Indian border in Khairpure Tamay Wali in Bahawalpur district. Pakistan on November 26 appointed General Qamar Javed Bajwa as the country's powerful new chief of army staff, the prime minister's office said. / AFP PHOTO / SS MIRZA

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday said that benefits of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should reach the people and stressed that all the institutions should cooperate with each another for its success.

He assured that the army and law enforcing agencies were vigilant and determined to provide foolproof security to CPEC.

“Let me assure the audience that the army and law enforcement agencies are vigilant and are determined to provide foolproof security to CPEC. No one should have any doubt about our commitment to the project. We will make CPEC a success, Insha ALLAH, come what may,” the COAS Qamar Bajwa said while addressing the inaugural session of CPEC Logistics International Forum organised by the NLC here on Wednesday.

He said that it was indeed a privilege this morning to address this august gathering, on CPEC logistics, it’s opportunities, challenges and way forward. “I am extremely happy to see so many renowned professionals who have come here, to discuss this subject, which is extremely important, yet less debated,” he added.

He believes that such forums and debates are actually the key to the successful operationalisation of the CPEC. In this context, he said he must appreciate and commend the initiative of NLC for bringing Pakistani, Chinese and other stakeholders from wide spectrum under one roof to discuss this important issue.

He said, “We take immense pride in our relationship with China that has always remained on an ascending trajectory and now encompasses almost every sphere of our life. The lasting imprint of this brotherly partnership is visible in state-to-state, military-to-military, business-to-business and people-to-people contacts.

“Pak-China relationships are based on the principles of peaceful co-existence, commonality of interests and shared perception on regional and global issues. We have always stood by each other through thick and thin and at every critical juncture of our history. That is why we are called as iron brothers”, he maintained.

He said that the honourable President of China, Mr Xi Jinping’s grand vision of One Belt One Road (OBOR) had opened up the whole new world of opportunities for the countries of the region and beyond. “CPEC, being an important project of OBOR, holds great promise for turning around the economies of Pakistan, Western China and the region. That is why we consider it as a Game Changer.”

He said, “The CPEC is also affirmation of our efforts for a peaceful and prosperous region. Unlike some countries of South Asia, we believe in focusing our energies on peace and inclusiveness, rather than divisive competition.”

“CPEC is a great initiative for people of the region, particularly for the people of Pakistan. It is truly a harbinger of economic development, prosperity and peace. Chinese investment in various fields, including energy, infrastructure, Gwadar Port and special economic zones could lay the foundation of a fast developing, progressive Pakistan, if the opportunity is optimally utilised,” he said.

“We as a nation can only benefit from this historic opportunity, if we prepare ourselves to embrace it. All national institutions will have to make a deliberate effort to ensure success of CPEC. To begin with, we need education, training and skill development of our youth to enable them to reap benefits from this economic initiative. We also need to improve our existing laws and regulations to provide a facilitating framework for trade and investment activities. We need infrastructure and urban planning to ensure that we are able to handle large volume of business and transport, without any hassle. CPEC will bring increasing economic integration between the regional economies on the one hand and reduce the development gap within various regions of Pakistan on the other. This however will require transformation of the trade corridors into economic corridors with the help of industrial and urban development, under a unified development framework,” he added.

“The bottom line is, we must ensure that the people of Pakistan benefit from CPEC to enjoy the fruits of prosperity. This will require leadership, collaborative spirit and capacity building at a much higher pace and level. While army will provide security to the project, the other national institutions will have to come forward and play their respective roles,” he said.

Talking about security, he said, “Pakistan is much safer than before. Peace has been restored in Fata and adjoining areas. Normalcy is returning to Pakistan’s economic hub of Karachi, where business community and common people have started to benefit from it. Similarly, law and order situation in Balochistan has improved significantly and there is a much bigger focus on socio-economic development in the province. With full backing of our nation, we are making steady, but sure footed progress in making Pakistan a terrorism and extremism-free country.

“We are fortunate to have Chinese brothers on our side to assist us in surmounting the gigantic challenges facing CPEC. Pakistan is a resilient nation of over 200 million people, with a large ratio of vibrant, capable and enthusiastic youth. We need to capitalise on this opportunity to make Pakistan an economic power in coming years. I want our entrepreneurs to join hands with our Chinese brothers and make this dream a reality. My dream is, that by the year 2030, when we complete the current phase of economic partnership between the two countries, Pakistan should at least be in league with middle income countries.” he maintained.

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