ISLAMABAD, Nov 22 (APP): Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan has assumed new identity due to economic turnaround during the last three years under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

Speaking as chief guest at China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
Awareness Seminar organized by World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis (WCOP) in London, he said, “Today, we live in the world of brands and every country is a brand.”

He said, “The way our people project Pakistan, becomes its identity
and brand.

Before we seek development as our goal, we need to reset our thinking
and mental model based on self belief and positive thinking about our country”, said a press release issued here on Tuesday.

He said, with the economic turnaround and unprecedented foreign direct  investment of $46 billion under CPEC, Pakistan has already assumed a new positive identity and brand in the eyes of the world.

The international media that used to label Pakistan as the most
dangerous country in the world, is now bullish on Pakistan and calling it the next emerging economy of Asia.”

Giving economic overview of the country, he said,”In the last three
years, the economy has seen a steady growth from 2.5% in 2013 to 4.8% last year, which is the highest growth rate in the last eight years.
“Our foreign reserves with US$ 24 billion are at the highest in the
history of Pakistan. This economic take off has changed the perception of the world about Pakistan.

The same Moody’s that downgraded the US, has upgraded the credit
rating of Pakistan.”

Talking about the performance of the government, he said, “When, we
came into power we had a manifesto of 4 Es – Economy, Energy, Extremism and Education.”

The government presented the Vision 2025 for the socio-economic
development of Pakistan and has delivered on all the four key areas. As a result, the economy has taken off.

Similarly, the government has significantly eradicated extremism and
terrorism due to which peace has been restored in Pakistan, especially in Karachi.

“Pakistan is seeing ever largest investment of $35 billion under CPEC
in energy sector which will not only meet our energy needs but also expedite GDP growth and create new job opportunities for our youth,” he added.

Ahsan Iqbal said, “Education is the fourth key priority of current

Despite education being a provincial subject after the 18th Amendment,
the federal government still wants to help provinces to improve the standard of education.

For this purpose, a National Curriculum Council has been set up to
upgrade the curriculum. Reform of Examination Boards and Teachers Training Programme are the other two initiatives of the federal government for complete overhaul of the education system of Pakistan to bring about creativity and innovation in our academic institutions.

Additionally, the federal government has increased allocation of funds
for Higher Education Commission from Rs 100 billion to Rs 215 billion in last three years. Besides, every district will have a university campus in three years.

During the US visit of the Prime Minister, Pakistan-US Knowledge
Corridor initiative was launched and it was agreed that 10,000 Pakistani PhDs would be produced in leading US universities in next ten years that would help promote research and innovation in our universities.

The Minister spoke at the CPEC in detail and termed it a great opportunity for Pakistan.

He said, “The CPEC would turn Pakistan’s geo strategic location to its
geo economic advantage. Within three years, the first convoy of goods has successfully travelled from China to Gwadar through Western Route that has made CPEC operational.

All provinces of Pakistan as well as the entire region would benefit
from CPEC. The energy projects, infrastructure projects and industrial zones along the Western and Eastern Routes would promote connectivity and bring about unprecedented economic growth.”

The Minister urged the Pakistani community not to pay heed to the
negative propaganda against the CPEC by detractors of Pakistan as CPEC is the real game changer for the country.

He also called upon the diaspora to take maximum advantage of CPEC by  investing in Pakistan.

The Minister thanked the WCOP for arranging the seminar and the
community for attending in large numbers. He also responded to the question of the attendees.