CPEC projects an investment, not loans to Pakistan: envoy [DailyTimes] 19 Dec, 2019

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing Wednesday said special economic zones will be built in Pakistan in the next phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.The ambassador said the CPEC was launched because of the friendship between Pakistan and China, adding that China wants progress and development all across Pakistan. He said China will succeed in eradicating poverty among its people in the next year.Speaking on the occasion, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser said Pakistan is ready to facilitate neighbouring countries so that they can benefit from CPEC projects. He said the economic, trade and cultural ties among the countries in the region are spread over centuries. Immense opportunities are available for promoting cooperation among countries of the region in trade and other sectors, he said, adding that Pakistan wants to increase effectiveness of CPEC as a means to further progress and prosperity of the region. The NA speaker said Pakistan has been going through a war-like situation in the last 30 years, adding that Pakistan’s economy suffered a lot due to Afghan war and the war against terrorism. He said the regional economy can be improved with the completion of CPEC. “I wish that Central Asian States should be included in the CPEC project,” he said, adding that CPEC is the guarantee of better future of the coming generations. The speaker assured all kinds of cooperation to regional countries for success of CPEC and said the parliament can play a vital role in strengthening ties among the countries. Promotion of bilateral relations is important for protecting regional interests, he stressed. He said CPEC can play a vital role in bringing countries of the region together. He said economy of Pakistan is under stress and “we have to take steps to make it stable.”The NA speaker said parliamentary diplomacy can play a critical role in enhancing regional cooperation and prosperity. Pakistan has an important geographical position and it was a connection between Asia and the countries in the Arab world and they could benefit from CPEC, he reminded.Parliamentary Committee on CPEC Chairman Sher Ali Arbab said Pakistani population is huge and it is a challenge as well as an opportunity. “We have to take the lead for achieving prosperity for people of Pakistan and for the region,” he said, adding that Pakistan cannot develop without gender empowerment and equality. Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said the next phase of CPEC is about relocation of Chinese industry to Pakistan. “China has offered one billion dollars for socioeconomic development in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and certain areas of Sindh,” he said.A large number of parliamentarians, diplomats and members of civil society attended the event.

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