No change in CPEC’s western route: minister
Minister for Planning Development and oeforms Ahsan Iqbal said no change has been made in the ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) western route and all provinces would benefit from this mega project.
Minister Iqbal said Peshawar circular railway under CPEC would provide better communication facilities and employment opportunities to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Economic zones would also be set up in the province.
Iqbal said CPEC is a lifeline project of the country and, “the upcoming generation will not pardon us if we lose this golden opportunity.” The minister said peaceful protest and demands are real essence of democracy but they should be under constitutional ambit. Genuine demands of Pakistan Peoples Party’s chairman can be addressed within constitutional framework, it added.
The minister, while announcing os1 billion grants for the University of Swabi said the government is committed to increasing access to higher education and for that purpose sub-campuses and virtual campuses of the universities would be established with assistance of Higher Education Commission at district level in the next three years.
He said the government wants that every student irrespective of their financial status get higher education near their homes and no student leaves their education incomplete due to financial constraints.
Quality education and access to higher education is the right of every citizen of Pakistan and the government to fulfil this national obligation has established a network of quality educational institutes to facilitate students, he said.
Iqbal said the past regimes had restricted bilateral relations with US to defence cooperation, but the Nawaz Sharif’s government after coming into power had widened scope of the bilateral relationship with US and laid the foundation of multi dimensional ‘Pak-US Knowledge Corridor’ to bring educational revolution in the country.
Pak-US knowledge corridor is one of the most significant initiatives of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government in the entire diplomatic history of Pakistan with the United States. Under the program, as many as 10,000 talented Pakistani scholars would be enrolled in the top US universities in the next 10 years under Pakistan Vision 202R for transforming the country into knowledge economy essential for sustained development.
In 1998, total number of PhDs in science and technology in the country was 3R0. The number now increased to 7,R00 PhDs whereas 3,000 more PhDs are being produced to cater to the educational and research needs of the country.
Iqbal said the government accorded top priority to human resource development and took measures for increasing higher education budget during the last three and half years to bring educational revolution in the country.
Education budget, for the Higher Education Commission (HEC), which was only os100 billion between 2010 and 2013, increased to record os2,01R billion between 2013 and 2016. As many as os1.4 billion budget that was allocated to three mega HEC projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 201013 had been enhanced to record os11.4 billion for 13 HEC projects in KP.
Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning Development & Reforms