Ahsan Iqbal dismisses apprehensions of neighboring countries against CPEC

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BEIJING, Sept 30 (APP): Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said

that some neighboring countries were feeling apprehensive about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The minisiter said it is not against anyone, CPEC is for everyone.
“No one can obstruct the construction of China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor, and we will make sure of the project’s success,” he told China
Global Television Network (CGTN), adding that “the CPEC is the testament to China-Pakistan friendship.”
He said, Pakistan has raised a special force of about 15,000 personnel
who are assigned exclusively for the security of Chinese personnel at the CPEC Project.
China and Pakistan agreed to strengthen anti-terrorism and security
cooperation along CPEC in this month, he added.
Ahsan Iqbal spoke highly of the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at
the Interpol conference.
He thought global security governance must be inclusive and each
country’s security considerations must be taken into account.
Talking to Global Times, a prestigious Chinese newspaper, he dismissed
apprehensions that CPEC will jeopardize South Asian stability.
He said the CPEC is not against anyone rather more regional connectivity
and cooperation will benefit the neighboring countries.
“CPEC is not against anyone but is for everyone. If there’s more
regional ­connectivity and cooperation, everyone will benefit.”
“Soon India will realize opposing CPEC is not even in their interest. It
will also help them do better trade with China and Central Asia republics,” he added.
Ahsan Iqbal said, “CPEC has entered the phase where its fruits and
dividends are beginning to be visible.”
“All CPEC projects have become reality and have convinced even the worst
skeptics who taught us this is just an illusion,” he added.
Pakistan, he said, was troubled by an energy crisis for years, but
things are getting better now thanks to the corridor.
He said the Sahiwal coal power project began production in July,
providing 1,320 megawatts of energy.
Another 1,320 MW power project, Qasim power project, is expected to be
completed by the end of this year, according to Ahsan Iqbal.
“They offer very valuable power to Pakistan when it comes to an energy
crisis,” he said.
Ahsan Iqbal also expressed his hope of speeding up another mega project
– the Diamer-Bhasha Dam – which will produce 4,500 MW of clean hydropower electricity upon completion.
“Pakistan faces a serious water security challenge,” he said. “We are in
the area with a high climate-change threat: Our glaciers are melting, our water is decreasing and the population is growing.”
The minister also said his country hopes through cooperation with China
to build reservoirs on the Indus River, which could also alleviate Pakistan’s water security challenge.
Under CPEC, the Gawadar Port in Southwest Pakistan became operational in
November 2016 and has turned into an “international port of the future,” he said.
Originally valued at $46 billion, the value of CPEC projects has now
reached the $65 billion mark. CPEC is seen as the main plank of the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative.
He said the economic corridor is a transformation project which
effectively brings China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Pakistan’s own Vision 2025 together.
The regions of South Asia, China and Central Asia serve as important
engines of economic growth in Asia and are bonded closely by this innovation.
It also offers a platform for global supply chains through which
Pakistan and China would be able to facilitate regional and international trade contacts.
In addition, it brings valuable investment into Pakistan amid serious
energy crisis. By connecting South Asia, China and Central Asia via CPEC, more job opportunities could be created for over 3 billion people in the region.