Minister for Planning Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal Friday ruled out any plan to change the design of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor – a project symbolising new vision of Pak-China economic partnership.
“The Pak-China economic corridor is not a game changer but a fate changer for Pakistan and for the prosperity of three billion people of the region,” Ahsan Iqbal said addressing a press conference on Friday.
“Pakistan-China economic corridor is imperative for regional trade integration and to enhance economic activities in the country,” he remarked. Ahsan resolved that the mega project was aimed at uniting all federating units including the remote areas of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan Region.
He added that a transit trade between Pakistan and China would be started from Gwadar, adding that backward areas of Balochistan would especially benefit from the economic corridor project.
The minister said that energy and infrastructure was more important for economic development of any country, and: “our government was working on strategic road map and formulated the vision 2025 to enhance infrastructure and energy projects with the cooperation of friendly China.”
The economic corridor and connected energy projects with a total investment of $45 billion during the next five years was a glaring example of the close friendship between the Pakistan and China.
He added that Pak-China energy corridor also included the project of generating 16,000 MW electricity to benefit the industrial zones and domestic consumers in the country.
The economic corridor would give Pakistan a pivot in the region boosting trade and commerce links with the regional economies, said Ahsan Iqbal. The 2,100-kilometer corridor would include special economic zones, a railways system and a model city, airport as well as a free port at Gwadar, he said.
The government, he said, was planning to establish a state-of-the-art industrial zone in Gwadar which would be a core feature of Pakistan-China trade corridor. The economic corridor considered the multiple route for the connectivity of urban and remote rural population of the country to provide equal development opportunities to the people.
The corridor, he said, was a landmark project which would connect Pakistan’s deep sea Gwadar port with China’s Xinjiang region bordering Gilgit Baltistan, an area full of natural resources.
Both Pakistan and China have launched a number of mega projects under the umbrella of economic corridor in several fields like energy, infrastructure and connectivity which would revitalise Pakistan’s economy.
To provide greater connectivity to Gwadar Port, he said, “Various initiatives have been taken as Gwadar can act as a hub for trade between Pakistan, China, Central Asia, Gulf Region and Afghanistan”, he added.
He said the Gwadar port had the potential to become the most convenient, economic and popular access route for Central Asian commerce and as an energy corridor. Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan had important geo-economic and geo-strategic position to connect the whole region and convert it as trade hub for the entire region.
He regretted that again some quarters propagated against the Pak-China economic corridor that too when the Chinese president was expected to visit Pakistan.
He added that earlier the Chinese president’s visit was cancelled because of different rumours spread during the PTI-PAT sit-in at D-Chowk.
Ahsan Iqbal said the government had taken necessary steps to enhance economic and trade ties with all regional and other countries including the United States, China and Afghanistan in order to maintain peace and prosperity in the country and the region.