Region’s promising future ahead as Pakistan stands by China on OBOR

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ISLAMABAD, May 24 (APP): As Pakistani leadership stands by China in implementation of its multi-billion dollar ‘One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative’, the region is set to welcome a promising future in terms of shared prosperity.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif during his recent visit to China
has extended Pakistan’s utmost support to President Xi Jinping’s vision based on revival of the ancient Silk Route and transforming it as a symbol of “golden age of globalization”.
The Belt and Road Initiative imagines a US$1.3 trillion Chinese-led
investment programme creating a web of infrastructure, including roads, railways, telecommunications, energy pipelines, and ports. This will serve to enhance economic inter-connectivity and facilitate development across Eurasia, East Africa and more than 60 partner countries.
For Pakistan, the project is titled as China Pakistan Economic
Corridor (CPEC) – the flagship of OBOR, which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has termed as “beginning of a new era of humanity, vowing progress for poor regions”.
“These outcomes are knitting nations and regions into economic
networks and inclusive neighbourhoods that transcend borders,”
the Prime Minister said at the Leaders Roundtable as part of the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, held on May 14-15 in Beijing.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif joined 29 heads of state and government at the high profile event themed ‘Connectivity Cooperation for
Interconnected Development’ and expressed Pakistan’s commitment for a peaceful, inter-connected and prosperous neighbourhood.
The Prime Minister’s address at the Belt and Road Forum was the
highlight of his visit to China as he got his message wide across at the international platform, stressing that CPEC was open for all countries and ‘must not be politicized’.
“Let me make it very clear that CPEC is an economic undertaking open to all countries in the region. It has no geographical boundaries. It must not be politicized,” the Prime Minister said, hinting at certain countries in the region, who have not so far expressed willingness to join the project.
The Prime Minister called for building a peaceful, connected and caring neighbourhood by shunning mutual differences.
“It is time we transcend our differences, resolve conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy, and leave a legacy of peace for future generations,” he said at the BRF platform, with 1,500 delegates in attendance.
Nawaz Sharif termed CPEC an opportunity that had made Pakistan both a conduit and destination for cross-regional investment and trade.
Calling ‘China as Pakistan’s close friend and trusted ally’, Nawaz Sharif said his participation at the Forum was to celebrate the remarkable success of the seminal initiative of ‘One Belt, One Road (OBOR)’.
The Prime Minister’s representation at the event was significant
providing Pakistan an opportunity to become part of an Initiative which was due to unfold across continents, fostering tolerance.
The Prime Minister regarded OBOR as a “powerful tool for overcoming terrorism and extremism.”
He said his government had shaped an enabling environment for the CPEC to take off as it was producing new entrepreneurs, creating new jobs and businesses, and attracting international investment.
He said CPEC was a project owned and nurtured by all citizens of Pakistan and was fully compatible with government’s own Vision 2025, which invests country’s resources in multiple corridors of regional cooperation, including energy, industry, trade and transportation.
Building CPEC together, the Prime Minister said both Pakistan and China were reaping the early benefits of interconnected development.
He said the connection of Xinjiang to Gwadar and Karachi created new supply and logistic chains, as well as manufacturing networks.
He said Gwadar Port would link up East, West and South Asia besides reaching out to African and European markets.
He said the Chinese investment of $56 billion under CPEC was unprecedented and historic that had helped launch of power and infrastructure projects.
The Prime Minister during his stay in Beijing met President Xi Jinping
and Premier Li Keqiang besides holding sideline meetings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn and President of Vietnam Tran Dai Quang.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also witnessed signing of six accords of cooperation between Pakistan and China including Framework Agreement on upgradation of Main Line-1 rail track and establishment of a dry port at Havelian.
Another special feature of the Prime Minister’s visit to China was the four chief ministers who accompanied him as a “symbol of nation unity”.
Chief Ministers Shahbaz Sharif (Punjab), Murad Ali Shah (Sindh), Nawab
Sanaullah Zehri (Balochistan) and Pervaiz Khattak (Khyber Pukhtunkhwa) travelled to China as part of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s entourage giving a clear message to the world that no matter what their personal differences, the political leadership was united on matters of national interest.
The Prime Minister also visited the Chinese financial hub Hangzhou
where he witnessed signing of accord with Alibaba Group, the e-portal giant to set up an e-platform in Pakistan.
Owing to the gains of the China visit, the analysts are of the opinion
that the visit has not only given Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a significant leverage at international level but also favoured him a boost at the domestic political scenario.