CPEC made Pakistan into trade, transit hub: PM Kakar

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The opening ceremony of the third Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for Inter­national Cooperation was held on Wednesday in Beijing where Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar took the stage to address world leaders.

Kakar, in his speech, praised China’s unwavering commitment to shared prosperity and global development, referring to it as a “pure manifestation of China’s commitment to common development, shared prosperity and a bright future for the world”.

The premier expanded on the significance of regional connectivity — the theme of the forum — and traced its role throughout history as a driving force for human progress and economic prosperity. He emphasised that connectivity was about more than just physical infrastructure; it was about connecting people, cultures, and civilizations.

“It is an endeavour for creating bonds and linkages,” he stated, underlining the importance of bridging divides and fostering unity in an increasingly interconnected world.

The interim prime minister also acknowledged the challenges that face the global community, from the growing gap between developed and developing nations to the pressing issues of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. He stressed the importance of collective efforts in addressing these challenges, as they risked impacting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Kakar also highlighted Pakistan’s active partnership in the BRI and proudly proclaimed full support for it.

He further reflected on the monumental impact of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), operationalised during President Xi’s visit in 2015, which had seen the completion of nearly 50 projects worth $25 billion.

“These projects included modern highways, seaports, airports, and mass transit systems, revolutionizing Pakistan’s infrastructure and trade networks,” he said.

Furthermore, Kakar noted the significant boost in electricity generation, with CPEC energy projects injecting “over 8,000 megawatts of new electricity into the grid and plans for an additional 10,000 megawatts of clean energy projects in the coming years”.

Kakar commented that this surge in energy capacity had brought about a positive transformation in Pakistan’s industrial and residential sectors.

Pakistan’s commitment to becoming a trade, transit, and transhipment hub was evident, with the seaport of Gwadar playing a pivotal role in facilitating cargo ships and transhipment to regional countries. Kakar announced the upcoming inauguration of a new international airport in Gwadar, which would further enhance its significance as a regional trade gateway.

Concluding his speech, Kakar unveiled the next phase of CPEC, where it would be transformed into a corridor of growth, linking economies, creating opportunities, and offering access to global markets.

“With this, we hope that our farmers in rural areas can access regional markets for customers, a student in a remote village can access world-class education, and a small business owner can trade seamlessly with partners across regions,” remarked the prime minister.

“CPEC was not just about infrastructure but also innovation. Pakistan and China would collaborate in the fields of IT, science, and technology to advance cooperation and improve the lives of their people,” he added. “CPEC would prioritize environmental protection, aiming to ensure food security, agricultural modernization, and green development.”

Kakar, in the end, welcomed other nations and partners to join hands in this transformative venture.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also addressed the forum and said China, Russia and the majority of states share the aspiration of equal and mutually beneficial cooperation in order to achieve comprehensive, sustainable and long-term economic progress and social well-being.

He said the Belt and Road plan initiated by President Xi is meant to create a fair platform for global cooperation.

Apart from that, Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, while addressing the forum stated that China plays a critical role in ensuring global security. He said the country is an engine of economic and technological advances.

He said the Belt and Road Initiative has been a popular project and a platform for international cooperation.

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