ISLAMABAD, May 24 (APP): Terming China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a new milestone in 65 years history of Pak-China relations, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Prof Ahsan Iqbal Tuesday said both the countries had transformed their geo-strategic relations into geo-economic ties after signing this vital framework.

Addressing a seminar on “Iron Brotherhood,” organized by
the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage here he said, “The past dictatorial regime threw the nation into others’ wars, paralysed the country’s economy and introduced culture of drugs and guns in the society.”

However, the present government broke the status quo and
started a new chapter of Pak-China relations by signing the
CPEC framework for the economic uplift of the country, he added.

Ahsan Iqbal said, the CPEC was not only a bilateral project between Pakistan and China rather it would connect this
region with South Asia and Central Asia.

China would utilize this opportunity to reach markets in
Europe and Africa, he said and added, Pakistan would play the role of a bridge between the land and sea routes.

The minister informed that Gwadar seaport would be
developed at a cost of US$ 1 billion, adding a new airport
and roads connecting the port with highways were being

A hospital, water supply scheme, energy project and
employment opportunities would be made available for the
people of Gwadar while this city would be brought at par
with the developed areas of he country, he added.
He said that out of US$ 46 billion investment under the
CPEC, US$ 35 billion had been earmarked to overcome energy shortage.

About pace of work on the Western route, he said, the
construction of the road from D.I. Khan to Burhan would be
completed by the year 2018.

He said, Gwadar would be linked with Quetta through a road
by the end of this year, adding the Indus Highway was also
being upgraded to bring about development and prosperity in
Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtonkhwa.

Ahsan Iqbal said, the country’s 70% passengers and cargo
utilized Peshawar-Karachi road and the construction of
Peshawar-Karachi motorway would enhance efficiency and cut down transportation cost.

He said, the government was focussing to modernize
railway by upgrading its track, signalling system, locomotive
and bogies.

The railways freight service had been revived by the
present government which helped reduce transportation cost
from Karachi to other parts of the country, he added.
He informed, the speed of passenger trains would be
enhanced from existing 80 km to 160 km after upgradation in next four years.

The minister said, Thar Coal deposits were sufficient to
produce 5000 MW electricity during next 400 years.
He also mentioned about LNG terminal, new transmission
line and said, huge allocations had been made for higher
education and setting up universities in FATA, Zhob and

Ahsan Iqbal said, under the CPEC, US$ 11.3 billion and
US$ 9.1 billion would be spent in Sindh and KPK provinces

Appreciating Chinese leadership’s vision and commitment,
he said, China reposed trust into Pakistan and its people and
announced US$ 46 billion CPEC framework in the time of need.

He said, China achieved economic development through
political stability, social harmony and solidarity, right
economic policies and reforms.

“We should follow the Chinese model to achieve economic
uplift in the country,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Chinese Ambassador to
Pakistan, Sun Weidong appreciated the warm welcome extended to him by the government and people of Pakistan during the celebrations of the anniversary of Pak-China diplomatic relations.

The Ambassador said, Pak-China friendly relations had
gone through test of time during the past 65 years, adding,
the brotherhood between the two nations was based on
sincerity, affection and justice.

He said, both the countries always regarded each other
equal partner and respected independence, sovereignty and
territorial integrity.

Sun Weidong said, China and Pakistan always extended
helping hand to each other when there was a need and adopted similar stance at regional and world issues.

At present, Pak-China strategic economic relations in
the shape of CPEC were creating new opportunities and
prospects for the people of both the countries.

Federal Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aizaz
Chaudhry said, the media had to play a vital role to further
enhance the existing all weather friendship between Pakistan
and China.

He said, China always stood by Pakistan in the time of
need, adding, during the last three years, these relations had
touched new heights.

Former Ambassador and Director General, Institute of
Strategic Studies, Masood Khan shared his personal experiences and warm hospitality with the audience about his stay as an Foreign Office official and Ambassador in China.

Expressing satisfaction over existing US$ 18.9 billion
trade volume between the two countries, he said, it should be set on US$ 100 billion by the year 2025.