Political instability could jeopardise CPEC investment

Iqbal says conspiracy theories must be rejected and youth empowered

Our Correspondent/APP April 13, 2016
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal. PHOTO: EXPRESS/ZAFAR ASLAM

LAHORE: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the backbone of country’s development and all the investment will be withdrawn if there is any political turmoil, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal said.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of Cluster Centres, in connection with the Vision 2025, at Punjab University, he said only those countries progressed where there was a semblance of political continuity and cited Turkey and Malaysia to exemplify his point.

He said the government was committed to making Pakistan an Asian Tiger and one of the 10 major economies of the world by equipping the youth with quality education.

Iqbal pointed out that once international media labelled Pakistan as a dangerous destination but now international newspapers called Pakistan as “a new success story” and “an emerging state”.

He said it was time to highlight Pakistan’s success stories and its positive side to the international world instead of levelling allegations against each other and hatching conspiracies.

He said the biggest power of the country was its youth, adding this was the era of knowledge economy and a change was needed in the traditional teaching style, which has become redundant.

He underscored the need for adopting an interactive teaching style that could create critical thinking among students.

Iqbal said if the youth were provided with quality education, they would become the largest driving force for development of the country. He said universities must create skills among the students, produce world-class research, bridge gap between academia and industry, work for community uplift and play a role for eradication of extremism from the society.

He mentioned that annual budget of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) had been Rs48 billion in 2013 but the government increased it to Rs78 billion.

Replying to a question, Iqbal said those fanning pessimism must be rejected and the message of hope should prevail.

He said the 20th century had belonged to political ideologies but the standards of development had changed in the 21st century and now the development of a country depended on three things: economic development, whether the development is inclusive and how competitive is the country’s economy.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2016.

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