KARACHI: Pakistan emerging as one of the most rapidly growing economies, said Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal.
He was delivering a lecture on ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)’ at the Karachi University campus on Monday. An official of the institution said in a statement that the talk was held under the auspices of the institution’s Applied Economic Research Center (AERC). The Minister highlighted the significance of CPEC and pointed out that there is no development without roads and infrastructure. Ahsan Iqbal said that CPEC was set to be launched in September 2014 but due to political instability and ‘Dharnas’ it was delayed till April 2015 when Chinese president visited Islamabad.
He stated that in the wake of CPEC, Pakistan could establish an economic zone of 3 billion people in the region being the bridge between South Asia, Central Asia and China. India feels upset due to CPEC as it will be isolated in the region, he remarked.
The Minister also lauded the research credentials of Karachi University’s AERC and said that it must be one of our think thanks for economic policy making.
He added that India planted its undercover agent Kulbhushan Yadav to disturb CPEC project but he was captured by our agencies. Ahsan Iqbal further pointed out that the West was now commending the CPEC. Gwadar port is an important part of CPEC and it has no comparison with any sea port of the region. ‘We are building a new airport and plan to make Gwadar an international standard port city by 2030. It will also benefit Balochistan and the locals economically.
Ahsan Iqbal said that “we aim to become one of the world’s top 25 economies by 2025 by our economic projects. We were energy surplus country in 1999 and were in talks with India for exporting electricity but the coming regime didn’t work for power generation project and the shortfall increased to 7,000 megawatts in 2013”.
There would be no development of economy without energy therefore, energy projects are our priority in CPEC and US $ 35 billion are allocated for energy in this regard.
While discussing the situation when the present government took over in 2013, there was reluctance to invest in Pakistan and in such a situation won the confidence and trust of China which resulted in the initiation of CPEC.
Western countries were terming Pakistan as the dangerous country in the world in 2013 and now they are terming Pakistan as one of the most rapidly emerging economies. ‘Infrastructure is the first step of development, there would be no development in education and health sectors without building infrastructure and roads. Karachi Circular Railway is also included in CPEC like Orange line’, he said.
Ahsan Iqbal said that our government raised the foreign exchange reserves from US $ 8 billion to US 24 billion. Universities have a pivotal role in national development as this is the age of innovation and modern technology, nations lagging behind in this contemporary age will suffer.