BEIJING: Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed has welcomed the government’s offer to Saudi Arabia to become the third partner in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and said that it will provide a new trade route between China and the Gulf countries.
“The corridor is not only meant for Pakistan and China, it is also a framework of the development and connectivity for other countries of the region and beyond as well,” he said, before leaving for Islamabad after attending a conference on Belt and Road in China in Beijing.
The senator said that Saudi Arabia is a brotherly country and its participation in the CPEC would prompt other countries of the region to join this flagship project of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative which would be a good sign for peace and prosperity.
Mushahid said that during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Pakistan, both Pakistan and China had agreed that the corridor’s construction could absorb third-party participation and will benefit the entire region.
Responding to a question about the smooth progress of the CPEC under the new government, he said that the entire nation had a consensus over the framework and expressed the confidence that it would continue as per schedule.
“Both the Pakistani and Chinese sides have expressed complete satisfaction over the progress of the CPEC and reached a new consensus on better promoting the construction of the corridor,” he added.
The senator said that the CPEC was a long-term plan and expressed the confidence that as it will move forward, it will bring about prosperity and peace in Pakistan as well as the whole region.
Senator Mushahid opined that the corridor would equally benefit the people across the country and said that power stations, major highways and other development projects were being completed in all parts of the country.
“The key infrastructure development, as well as the growth of industrial estates around the new routes, will help connect the country and spread growth more equitably, rising living standard and increase the opportunity of employment for millions of people,” he added.
Highlighting Pakistan’s economic growth after joining the CPEC, he said that the projects under the framework had boosted Pakistan’s economic growth by one to two percentage points every year, adding that the GDP growth rate remained at 5.9 per cent, highest in the last nine years, because of investment from China.
Congratulating China on the completion of five years of the BRI announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping, he said that since the initiative was launched in late 2013, China had signed 150 cooperation documents with 106 countries and 29 international organisations.
Terming Pakistan a major beneficiary of its rich and deep relationship with China, he said that in recent years, the work being carried out under the Belt and Road Initiative had become a game changer for Pakistan.
“A number of power generation projects have been completed in Pakistan. As a result, electricity load-shedding has reduced drastically. Infrastructure, road and transport projects are also being completed. Moreover, work to complete different facilities at Gwadar deep sea port is progressing well. Around 70,000 locals have also got employment owing to the ongoing development projects under CPEC,” he added.
He said that the building of power stations, major highways, new and upgraded railways and higher capacity ports, fibre-optic cable and airports would help turn Pakistan into a major overland route linking western China to the world.