APP62-11 ISLAMABAD: December 11 - A delegation of French senators called on Interior Minister Professor Ahsan Iqbal. APP

ISLAMABAD, Dec 11 (APP):A delegation comprising senators from French government called on Interior Minister Professor Ahsan Iqbal Monday and discussed matters pertaining to mutual cooperation in economy and security.
Fusion of Chinese one belt, one road and Pakistan Vision 2025 has been realized in the form of CPEC which will bring prosperity and progress in Pakistan and the region, the minister said.
He added that developing Pakistan as a hub of the regional connectivity is major pillar of Pakistan’s vision 2025.
He said that owing to the geographic and strategic location of Pakistan and economic turnaround, Pakistan has assumed greater importance in the international economic arena.
He emphasized that new connectivity develops new markets, which creates new demand resulting in new growth. “In CPEC we have developed a portfolio of about $50 billion; the bulk of the investment is going in energy sector,” the minister told the delegation.
He said that the country was suffering from 18-20 hours of load shedding on daily basis when the incumbent government came into power in 2013. He added that today, power shortages had been reduced in many areas to zero hours and in some areas to 2-4 hours.
10,000 MW of electricity has been added in the last four years which is a great achievement of the current government. He said that half of investment in the energy sector is catered from CPEC and the rest has come from government resources.
The minister said that CPEC entails good return for the Chinese investors and gives Pakistan much needed foreign investment.
He highlighted that regional economies will greatly benefit from development of Gawadar Port as modern smart port city. He also asserted that the 207 million population of Pakistan consists of 80 million middle class and youth constitutes two third of the total population.
The rising middle class in the country is attractive for investors as it provides them a good market. He added that development of modern infrastructure, economic growth, strategic location and well trained human resource are attracting investors from Europe and America.
He said that the vision 2025 is premised on making Pakistan top 25 economy by the year 2025.  He hoped that Air France should resume its flights in Pakistan.
Talking on the Pakistan’s sacrifices in war against terror, the minister said that international community should acclaim the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan and its citizens. “We have suffered 60,000 lives of our people in the war against terror. No other country has suffered more than Pakistan in this war.”
He added that there is a dramatic decrease of 90% in the terrorism incidents in the country. He said that most of the recent terrorists attacks were planned and executed across the western border.  We are a peace loving country and strong proponent of peace in south Asia. We are pursuing an economic agenda to provide bright future to our next generations.
French delegation commended the Interior Minister for his endeavors as a visionary leader and his role in the development of economy in Pakistan.
The delegation also expressed their interest that France should participate in CPEC projects and reap dividends from its benefits. They also acknowledged the role of Pakistan in its fight against terror and its efforts in restoring peace and stability in the region.

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