–Interior minister calls for respecting PML-N’s mandate, says CPEC has changed world’s opinion about Pakistan
LAHORE: Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday lamented that even Afghanistan would power ahead of Pakistan in the near future if political stability is not brought in the country.
Bemoaning that the government’s mandate was not respected, the minister said, “If we did not bring political stability in the country, Afghanistan will surpass us as President Hamid Karzai had completed his tenure and now President Ashraf Ghani was on the course,” he added.
While addressing at an event titled ‘Think and Grow’ held under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) at Pakistan Industrial Technical Assistance Centre (PITAC) here, Ahsan recalled that prior to 2013, the world looked at Pakistan as a safe haven for terrorists.
He went on to say that frequent power cuts had made citizens’ lives hell, there was a fear of civil strife due to the energy crisis and the GDP was growing at a mere 3 per cent. “The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) prioritised overcoming the energy crisis and executing CPEC after receiving a mandate from the people,” the minister said.
Ahsan stated that with the start of CPEC, the world started to look at Pakistan through a different lens. “In 2013, when the idea of CPEC was proposed, we vowed to make it a reality. Now it is proving to be a game changer,” he added.
“Development projects worth $46 billion are being completed now,” Ahsan said, adding that the first phase of the project was premised on revamping national infrastructure to revive the economy.
“Now the conditions of the country are better and investors the world over are flocking to Pakistan,” the interior minister said. “But some self-proclaimed intellectuals use television to further negativity about the initiative [CPEC] every day, the minister said, adding that “who knows whose agenda they are furthering.”
Ahsan further said that people trusted PML-N and voted it to power in order to bring development in the country, and added that political stability was needed to achieve the real objectives of CPEC.
The interior minister went on to say that it was important to learn lessons from successes of China as it did not let anyone compromise its political stability.
He also said that the youth are the biggest asset of Pakistan and the government had put in place special arrangements to provide them employment. He added that millions of jobs would be created owing to CPEC project, which would enable them to exhibit their skills in their respective fields.
Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan had rapidly emerged as a top growing economy in the world in the recent years, and the world was admitting it.
He said that the coal deposits in Thar were equal to the oil stocks of Saudi Arabia and Iran. “We have wasted 70 years to tap coal but now because of CPEC, coal stocks are being exhausted to cater to the needs,” he added.
“Gwadar Port would help achieve the target through trade with Central Asia Republics and other regions,” the minister added.
Later, Ahsan distributed shields among the participants including University of Management and Technology (UMT) President Hassan Sohail Murad, DG Abid Sherwani, Dr Saleem Janjua, Dr Hasnain Javed, chief organiser Muzammil Zia, Sarfraz Ahmed and co-organiser Sania Rabbani from PITAC among others.