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ISLAMABAD, Jul 12 (APP): Federal Minister for Planning , Development  and Reform Ahsan Iqbal said that the professionals of Pakistan should explore opportunities offered by China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to take maximum benefit of this highly significant and multidimensional project.

Ahsan Iqbal addressing a meeting of professionals belonging to  different fields maintained that Pakistan has gained considerable momentum of multi-sectoral growth during last three years and the world has witnessed economic boost due to consistent policies and strategy.

He said that we as a nation need to think positively and equip  ourselves with self- belief without which the image of our country can not be mended.

The minister was of the view that Pakistan of 2016 is much better than  it was 2013 as improvement of indicators in social, economic, security and energy sector have witnessed considerable improvements.

He highlighted historical perspective of growth and development  patterns in the country and pointed out that they proved short-lived because of exogenous factors which had led the country enter into geo-strategic alliances instead to have preferred geo-economic partnerships.

Federal Minister said that government was committed to bring Pakistan  among top 25 economies of the world by 2025.

He said that international media had been labelling Pakistan as the  most dangerous country and safe heavens for terrorism but today the same media organizations and the world are terming it as the investment destination and an emerging economy.

“The CPEC would benefit all the provinces especially the most-backward areas of the country,” he added.

He said that in energy component of CPEC, Sindh is largest recipient of energy projects, where $11.5 billion dollar out of $ 35 billion energy portfolio is being constructed in CPEC.

A 10,000 megawatt(MW) power plant will be added by 2018 and additional 15,000 MW by 2025, he said adding that the government was building new dams, including Diamer Bhasha Dam and Dasu dam .

Minister said that $35 billion energy component of CPEC would help to  overcome energy crisis in Pakistan as well as upgrading the power transmission & distribution system in the country.

He said that Gwadar component of CPEC would not only develop Gwadar  Seaport, International Airport, Expressway but would also focus on social sector by constructing hospital and technical & vocational training institute in the port city.

While responding to a question Minister said that we have also  increased higher education budget from Rs.48 billion to Rs. 78 billion last two years as well as working on setting up universities campuses at district levels.

Knowledge corridor between Pakistan and the United States will  produce 10,000 Ph.Ds scholars during next ten years.