Pakistan

Planning minister apprises British parliamentarians over CPEC

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LONDON: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal had shown concern over international community’s insensitivity towards human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

He was addressing a lunch hosted Pakistan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Syed Ibne Abbas in honour of cross party British parliamentarians at the British Parliament on 21 November 2016.

The event was organised to brief the British parliamentarians on economic turnaround of Pakistan, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and the regional situation including Kashmir.

Minister Ahsan Iqbal briefed the parliamentarians about the government reforms agenda. He elaborated Four E’s–Economy, Energy, Extremism and Education, the priority areas of the government–and updated them on the significant progress made by the government in these four key areas.

The Minister also updated the parliamentarians on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and highlighted its importance in economic integration of the region and socio-economic uplift of the people not only in Pakistan but in the entire region.

He informed Lords and MPs about the four pillars of CPEC which includes: a) Regional Economic integration, b) Development of Gwadar Port, c) Connectivity with China, and d) Development of economic zones.

The Minister also shared his views on how UK can benefit from CPEC initiative.

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Ahsan Iqbal raised with the parliamentarians the issue of the worst human rights violations by the Indian security forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. He urged the international community including UK to play their constructive role in ending the human rights violation in IOK and resolving the dispute.

He emphasised that the insensitivity of the international community towards the sufferings of the oppressed people of Kashmir can feed to the narrative of extremists.

Speaking on India-Pakistan relations, the Minister highlighted the escalation in tension between India and Pakistan due to unprovoked violations of Line of Control and the Working Boundary by India. He said Pakistan has so far shown maximum restraint but it should not be taken as its weakness.

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Ahsan Iqbal explained the achievements made by Pakistan in its fight against extremism and terrorism. He said that security situation has significantly improved, particularly in Karachi, where business and commercial activities are picking up again and crime rate has significantly come down.

Responding to a question of an MP, he explained that federal government was working closely with all the provinces on various infrastructure projects including the CPEC.

The parliamentarians appreciated government of Pakistan’s efforts for economic turnaround and its improved revenue collection. They also spoke positively about improved security situation in the country.

The Lords and MPs were of the view that Pakistan UK trade and economic relations can further expand in the wake of Brexit as the UK would be looking for new trade partners.

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