The entire Central and South Asian region stand to benefit from the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
This was stated by the Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz while addressing the inaugural session of a two-day international conference on “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Corridor of Prosperity Through Education and Business” organised by the Peace and Conflict Study Department at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) on Wednesday.
Aziz said that under the mega project, around eight to ten special economic zones would be set up in the country for local and international investors to promote business and industrial activities. He added that special incentives would also be given to investors to make the zones attractive.
In this regard, he pointed out that they were developing road structure and were trying to overcome the energy shortage under this project to help with development.
Acknowledging the role played by NUML to form a bridge between Pakistan and the rest of the world, He said that CPEC would benefit around 3 billion people who live in neighbouring and Central Asian States.
The advisor further said that CPEC project would promote peace, harmony and prosperity among all the neighbouring states.
Chinese Embassy Charge d’affairs of Zhao Lijan said that China was offering scholarships for Pakistani students and exchanging knowledge between think tanks to better understand each other. He added that there were currently four Confucius Institutes ( a non-profit public educational organisation affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education) are working in Pakistan including NUML.
Earlier, NUML Rector Major General (retd) Ziauddin Najam said that there are two views about the CPEC – one was that the project would be like rivers of milk and honey for Pakistan. The other view was that it was a project which would impose a massive interest rate and would not be as beneficial as suggested.
In this situation, the rector said that it was the responsibility of academicians to develop a catharsis and guide for the nation in the right direction. Despite that, he termed CPEC an artery of peace.
Social Sciences Dean Dr Sufiana Khatoon Malik, NUML Director General Brigadier Riaz Ahmed Gondal, deans, directors, heads of departments and a large number of students also attended the conference. On the first day, eight papers were presented on various aspects of CPEC.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2017.