ISLAMABAD, July 13 (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) so that the country and our people should take maximum benefit of this highly significant and multidimensional project covering different sectors.

Ahsan Iqbal 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 to strengthen economic sector.

He said, “We as a nation need to think positively and equip ourself with self belief without which the image of our country can not be mended”.

Ahsan Iqbal further added that Pakistan of 2016 is much better than it was 2013.Improvement of indicators in social, economic, security and energy sector provide significant evidence on stability in these sectors and better tomorrow.

The Minister expressed these views while addressing the meeting of professionals belonging to different fields here.

Ahsan Iqbal also 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.

The Minister said, the government was committed to bring Pakistan among top 25 economies of the world by 2025, adding, the international media was labelling Pakistan as the most dangerous country and safe heavens for terrorism but today the same media organizations and the world in are terming Pakistan as the investment destination and an emerging economy.

He said, the 20th century had belonged to political ideologies but today is the era of political economy, economic stability and inclusive growth.

“Today we are living in the world of competitiveness and knowledge economy, the professionals are custodians of knowledge and thereby can be termed as knowledge workers”, he added.

Ahsan Iqbal said, “CPEC would benefit all the provinces especially the most-backward areas of the country.

He said, 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.

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

He said, 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 and vocational training institute in the port city.

“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,” he added.