RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a ‘game-changer’ and holds great promise for turning around the economies of Pakistan, Western China and the region.
Addressing the CPEC Logistics International Forum, Gen Bajwa said that One Belt One Road (OBOR) is the grand vision of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for the countries of the region and beyond.
The army chief said CPEC is a great initiative for people of the region particularly Pakistan, and is truly a harbinger of economic development, prosperity and peace.
He said the 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.
“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,” he said.
Gen Bajwa said that Pakistan takes pride in its relationship with China that has always remained on an ascending trajectory and now encompass almost every sphere of our life.
“Pak-China relationship is based on the principles of peaceful co-existence, commonality of interest and shared perception on regional and global issues,” he said adding both are called ‘Iron Brothers’ and have always stood by each other at every critical juncture of our history.
Gen Bajwa said Pakistan can only benefit from this historic opportunity if it is prepare ourselves to embrace it, and all national institutions will have to make a deliberate effort to ensure success of CPEC. He said that Pakistan needs education, training and skill development of youth to enable them to reap benefits from this economic initiative.
Pakistan also needs to improve our existing laws and regulations to provide a facilitating framework for trade and investment activities. Furthermore, it needs 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,” he said.
“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 stressed that the people of Pakistan must benefit from CPEC to enjoy the fruits of prosperity, which requires leadership, collaborative spirit and capacity building at a much higher pace and level.
He reminded that the army will provide security to the project, but other national institutions will have to come forward and play their respective roles. He assured that the army and law enforcement agencies are vigilant and determined to provide foolproof security to CPEC and no one should have any doubts about their commitment to the project.
Gen Bajwa said that Pakistan is much safer than before as peace has been restored in FATA and adjoining areas, and normalcy has returned to economic hub of Karachi, where business community and common people have started to benefit from it, while law and order situation in Balochistan has improved significantly and there is a much bigger focus on socio-economic development in the province.
He said that Pakistan is fortunate to have the Chinese to assist in surmounting the gigantic challenges facing CPEC. He said Pakistan is a resilient nation of over 200 million people, with a large ratio of vibrant, capable and enthusiastic youth and needs to capitalize on this opportunity to make it an economic power in coming years.
He called on entrepreneurs to join hands with the Chinese and make this dream a reality. He said it was his dream that by the year 2030, when the current phase of economic partnership is completed, Pakistan should at least be in the league with middle income countries.