ISLAMABAD, June 25 (APP):Minister for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage Barrister Ali Zafar on Monday said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was an example of a friend who never left and testimony of the tremendous role that China played in the economic development of Pakistan.
Speaking at a seminar on “Role of Media and CPEC” organized by Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE), he said China and Pakistan had a time tested friendship and he was happy to say that both countries had actually gained from that friendship.
He said that the construction of Karakoram Highway, Heavy Mechanical Complex at Taxila, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and Chashma Nuclear Power Plants were monuments of the two countries ever increasing relationship.
In the backdrop of US-India deal for transfer of civilian nuclear technology, which Pakistan regarded as highly discriminatory, no country stood with Pakistan, but China exhibited the strength of friendship that was required, he said adding China helped built Chashma nuclear power plants IV and V, he added.
Ali Zafar quoted Paulo Coelho de Souza, Brazilian lyricist and an eminent literary figure, as describing “friendship is not about whom you know the longest. It is about who came and never left” and China was the friend who never left.
He recalled that China was isolated many years ago, and Pakistan’s PIA was the first foreign non-communist international airline that flew there.
“If you remember we initiated the dialogue and made it possible for United States and China to talk when the world was divided between east and west – the Soviet Union and USA. We took Henry Kissinger to China. We in fact supported China’s sovereignty over Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet and we have supported China in matters of human rights.”
“At the global level, China has always supported us on the issue of Kashmir and in the economic and defence fields, China has been our ally.”
Talking about CPEC, he said a country first of all needed power, infrastructure and road networks for its development and then “we can talk about proper industrialization.”
“Right now what the CPEC is going through is in fact the first phase and a lot of questions have been asked as to where is industrial growth and from where the industry is going to come. That answer has to be given.”
He said, “Industrial growth will come but it will come later. Industrial parks will be set up. However, how these industrial parks will actually help economic growth, that question is still to be answered.” “We have to work on it and have to give people our 20 to 25 years plans,” he said adding more seminars and conferences should be held as more people will know about CPEC, more confidence would grow in that project.
Ali Zafar referred to the very important 6th meeting of Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) held in Beijing in 2016, that included in CPEC: Diamer Bhasha Dam, Karachi Peshawar Railway, Karachi Circular Railway, Keti Bandar and special economic zones.
The chief ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan participated in the JCC meeting at the invitation of the federal government, he said adding at the end of the meetings, all the chief ministers expressed their satisfaction over the steps taken in the JCC meeting.
He said, “Article 19A of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan says that freedom of information is a fundamental right.”
He said the government should be made responsible for disseminating information about everything. “When government decides a matter it must inform the public that these are the reasons for its decisions. If it makes a project, it has to give the data and facts about it.”
He said it was only when the information would be disseminated, debated among the public and discussed by the media, there would be transparency and corruption would be stopped.
He said , “If the system is transparent you will not enable people to become corrupt. You will stop people from being corrupt as it will stop corruption in its tracks.”