Shahid Khaqan Abbasi lauds China’s help to Pakistan through BRI, CPEC

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

BEIJING, Apr 4 (APP): Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi stressed the importance of building a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future, as he condemned a terror attack that killed some Chinese workers in his country last week.

Describing the March 26 attack that claimed the lives of five Chinese workers in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province as a very sad incident, Abbasi denounced the attack and said his country is committed to protecting Chinese nationals working in the country.

In an interview with China Daily in Boao, Hainan province, Abbasi lauded China’s help to Pakistan through the Belt and Road Initiative and the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, project, saying he finds China’s engagement and the way the Chinese system works fascinating.

BRI projects are “basically left to the host country to decide what to do”, said Abbasi, who recently took on a new role as a member of the board of directors of the Boao Forum for Asia.

He said the Chinese side’s framework for the CPEC had only two requirements: projects should be economically viable, and they should be environmentally sustainable.

According to him, CPEC projects have been developed at an amazing speed in the past decade. Now, the focus is shifting to high-quality BRI.

“As part of the community of shared future, I think it is a very, very beneficial relationship in that sense because if you really look back at the Silk Road, it was basically a trading route and it was about inclusion and integration. The same thing is happening now with the BRI,” Abbasi said, referring to the Digital Silk Road project. “I think the focus now shifts to technology and also things like artificial intelligence.” The CPEC has been a real success story, according to the Pakistani politician.”

He refuted the accusations of a “debt trap” by some Western nations, saying the claims have been intentionally made up to harm China’s reputation. Talking about the terrorist attack against Chinese workers in Pakistan, Abbasi said protecting the lives of Chinese nationals involved in various projects in Pakistan is very important.

However, he noted that Pakistan’s landmass spans long distances from north to south, with a difficult terrain.
But he said the terror attack will not hinder the progress and success of the second phase of the CPEC.

“We are hopeful of moving forward with the CPEC and I am especially looking forward to the potential growth of exports, and the CPEC can be of great help,” Abbasi said.

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