Three univer­si­ties un­der CPEC will start func­tion­ing this year: Ah­san Iqbal

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Min­is­ter Plan­ning, De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Prof Ah­san Iqbal on Mon­day stated, "Univer­si­ties in FATA, Zhob and Gwadar, lo­cated on Western route of China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) will start func­tion­ing this year to pro­duce qual­ity hu­man re­source for CPEC in th­ese ar­eas.

Th­ese univer­si­ties are part of govern­ment's ef­forts to pro­duce qual­ity hu­man re­source along with fo­cus­ing on in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment and en­ergy pro­duc­tion through this mega de­vel­op­ment pro­ject. Ah­san Iqbal stated this while speak­ing as a chief guest at a sem­i­nar on "China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC); Op­por­tu­ni­ties and Chal­lenges" or­ga­nized by Pre­ston Univer­sity at Na­tional Univer­sity.

Fed­eral Min­is­ter Plan­ning & De­vel­op­ment de­scribed CPEC tran­sre­gional pro­ject, which would ben­e­fit three bil­lion peo­ple of the re­gion through en­hanced re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity with Balochis­tan and Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa provinces of the coun­try to play in­stru­men­tal role in­te­grat­ing the whole re­gion. He dis­pelled the im­pres­sion that CPEC would ben­e­fit any one prov­ince or re­gion and said this con­tro­versy was political hav­ing no rel­e­vance with the facts.

Now, there is com­plete con­sen­sus and all par­ties sup­port CPEC. "CPEC would ben­e­fit the most-back­ward ar­eas of the coun­try and this change is started to ap­pear in the form of emerg­ing of hu­man set­tle­ments on sec­tion of Western route from Quetta to Gwadar, which is sched­uled to be com­pleted by end of this year", min­is­ter stated adding that a new era of de­vel­op­ment and pros­per­ity would usher in Balochis­tan when miss­ing links on western and cen­tral routes would be com­pleted.

He said that in en­ergy com­po­nent of CPEC, Sindh is largest re­cip­i­ent of en­ergy projects, where $11.5 bil­lion dol­lar out of $ 35 bil­lion en­ergy port­fo­lio is be­ing con­structed in CPEC.

This bias to­wards South in en­ergy projects is due to coal source as coal projects can be com­pleted in three years time­frame and there is ur­gency of overcoming en­ergy short­age in the coun­try. CPEC is not two or three years pro­ject re­stricted to present govern­ment's ten­ure, he pointed out and added that it is 15 years long pro­ject to be com­pleted in 2030 by fo­cussing on in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, Gwadar Sea Port, En­ergy and In­dus­trial Co­op­er­a­tion. Ah­san Iqbal said that along with CPEC, TAPI and KASA 1000 MGW re­gional co­op­er­a­tion pro­ject would re­de­fine West Asia to turn it into a re­gional eco­nomic block of three bil­lion peo­ple.

"Even In­dia has started re­al­iz­ing po­ten­tial ben­e­fit of CPEC to trade with China through this short­est and eco­nomic route, he added. Ah­san Iqbal said that CPEC is a fu­sion of Vi­sion2025 of Pak­istan and China's One Road-One Belt" for fu­ture growth and de­vel­op­ment.

CPEC trans­lated the decades-long political re­la­tions be­tween China and Pak­istan into strong eco­nomic ties. He felt that as one hand, CPEC of­fers enor­mous op­por­tu­ni­ties for sus­tained eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try, it also brings with it the chal­lenges and is­sues, which re­quires huge re­spon­si­bil­ity to dealt with.

He un­der­lined the need for de­vel­op­ing new men­tal mod­els through changed think­ing and be­hav­iours to make this pro­ject a suc­cess. "The pos­i­tive think­ing and be­hav­iour can be brought in by fo­cussing on qual­ity hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment and present govern­ment is earnestly work­ing on this as­pect," he stated. Ah­san Iqbal called upon the schol­ars and academia to join hands with the govern­ment to tackle the chal­lenges in the way of CPEC for op­ti­mal uti­liza­tion of its po­ten­tial for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try.

He said that We live in an age of eco­nomic ide­olo­gies. Coun­tries are com­pet­ing on ba­sis of com­pet­i­tive­ness, which de­pends on pro­duc­tiv­ity, in­no­va­tion and qual­ity of economies.

"We need to be­come an eco­nomic na­tion. Our suc­cess de­pends on abil­ity to pro­duce wealth and dis­trib­ute its ben­e­fits across all re­gions in an in­clu­sive man­ner.

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