PRESS RELEASE – Public Talk “CPEC: A Catalyst for the Economic Development of Pakistan”

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PRESS RELEASE
Public Talk
CPEC: A Catalyst for the Economic Development of Pakistan
August 17, 2022

“The challenge today for every developing country is to become an economically-ideal state. We have yet to learn to be an economic nation. This is not the age of political and conventional wars rather it is the era of economic competition and trade wars where technology is defining the parameters of modern economy in the changing world spectrum. It is therefore, need of the hour to show unity in areas and ventures of national interest only then can we tackle the challenges we face. This was stated by Mr. Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhry, Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives during the Public Talk titled  CPEC: A Catalyst for the Economic Development of Pakistan” organized by the China Pakistan Study Centre at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad on August 17, 2022.

Mr. Ahsan Iqbal stated that to develop a country a 10 to 20 years of framework is required in order to ensure internal stability. He explained that the public sector is run by three chapters, Project, Program and Policies. Vision 2025 clearly articulated that it is time for Pakistan to move away from geo-politics to geo-economics. In vision 2025, one main pillar was that Pakistan should construct a hand-built corridor to leverage its geo-strategic environment for economic gains.  Through such modern economic frameworks and initiatives Pakistan could integrate this whole region into a one big regional market. He recalled that, while government was charting an initial roadmap for CPEC, the two bottlenecks faced at that time were energy-power crisis and the road and rail infrastructure fragility. These two major bottlenecks were to a larger extent cleared away and a shift to industrialization had begun.

He noted that in the last four years, the progress on CPEC projects particularly Special Economic Zones, Gwadar Port and some infrastructure projects have faced serious setbacks. Along with this, Pakistan’s fiscal problems and procedural obstructions have also made China more cautious regarding investments thus leading to loss of momentum from the Chinese side. However, the current government is putting full efforts to bring CPEC back on track. He said that current government is taking viable steps to complete the transmission line between Panjgur and Turbat. As soon as it is done there will be no power shortage issues in Gwadar. Also, the current government is looking forward to the upcoming JCC meeting. He affirmed that Pakistan’s future depends on its exports. In 75 years the state has failed to shift to an export centric model. For this, there is a need to shift the course from political thinking to economic thinking.

Earlier, Director China Pakistan Study Centre at ISSI Dr. Talat Shabbir in his introductory remarks stated that since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations, the ties between Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China have remained steady, moving from strength to strength this relation only fortified more which can be witnessed through different phases of history despite changes in the global and regional political and strategic environment. He stressed that CPEC has the potential to be a collaborative project for infrastructure construction, industrial development and livelihood improvement if there is a consistency in economic policies, right and correct narratives are advanced and all the CPEC related issues are dealt with on war footing.

Director General Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry while welcoming the Federal Minister and other guests said that right from the inception of the idea of CPEC, Professor Ahsan Iqbal has been associated with CPEC and may be considered one of its primary architects. DG ISSI noted that lingering doubts about CPEC keep coming back from detractors regarding transparency, sovereignty concerns and rising debt levels. He stated that lately a renewed enthusiasm regarding CPEC can be felt however, to remove the impediments and to have miraculous outcomes political stability is a must.

DG ISSI’s remarks were followed by a Question & Answer session. In the end, Chairman Board of Governors Ambassador Khalid Mahmood presented the Institute’s memento to the Federal Minister Mr. Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhry. The public talk was attended by diplomats, policy-makers, students and scholars, business community and media.