Corridor to ‘change region’s geo-economic balance’

Ahsan Iqbal says economics, not politics, is important in the 21st century

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal addresses a seminar on CPEC organised by Express Media Group in Lahore. PHOTO: WASEEM NIAZ / EXPRESS

LAHORE: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is vital for the economic development of the country and is bound to change the geo-economic balance of the region, Minister of Planning and Development of Pakistan said on Wednesday.

“Anti-state elements are propagating against it,” Ahsan Iqbal said, adding that economics not politics was important in the 21st century.

Addressing the seminar, CPEC: Priorities and Challenges, organised by the Express Media Group, Ahsan said that we should shun the politics of blame-game and introduce ‘Made in Pakistan’ across the globe.

He stated that industrial parks will be built across Pakistan under CPEC where Chinese investors will set up industries and create job opportunities for Pakistani workers.

Ahsan further said that China is going to invest $46 billion out of which $35 billion will be spent on power projects.

“Power projects will produce 10,000 MW of electricity,” he said stressing that the investment of $11 billion is a 20-year financing at a mark-up of two per cent.

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“This investment is being spent on projects of infrastructure development.”

Contrary to the opposition’s claims, the minister said that Sindh has the highest share in the multi-billion dollar project ($9.1b), followed by Balochistan and Punjab was at number three.

In response to a question, the minister said that there were certain anchors who assumed the role of ISPR while others became spokesperson for the Supreme Court.

The issue of Dawn leaks, said the minister, had been resolved cordially and the opponents should stop creating hurdles in the way of development.

Speaking to media after a seminar, CPEC: priorities and challenges, organised by Express Media Group, the minister said the opposition had lost its nerves after seeing the strong economic planning and development by the ruling party.

Criticising Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, he said such opposition leaders should have tried to use peoples’ support to bring about a political change, “but unfortunately they use their popularity to use courts or seek help from the army”.

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Ahsan said: “No one can create barriers in the path of development in Pakistan. They had better support the government in the process of progress.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Express group Aijazul Haque told the seminar that similar events had already been held at Karachi and Islamabad and will be followed by seminars in Khyber-Pakhtunkwa and other cities of the country.

He said that the purpose of these seminars was to create awareness among the common people about the importance of CPEC. He said such activities were mandatory for confidence-building.

The seminar was attended by Group Editor Express Group Ayaz Khan, Editor Editorial Lateef Chaudhry, Associate Director Marketing Sharmeen Khurram, Chief Reporter Khalid Qayyum, Chief Executive Fast Marketing Ashar Goraia. Express Forum Editor Ajmal Sattar Malik was the master of ceremonies of the seminar.


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