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ISLAMABAD, Nov 25 (APP): Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Khan Suri Wednesday said that despite COVID-19, the PTI government under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minster Imran Khan managed to boost economic activities in the country.

He was addressing national seminar on “CPEC: Challenges and Opportunities” was organized by National Parliamentary Task Force on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Senate Special Committee on National Cohesion.

Deputy Speaker said that major part of the western route of CPEC crosses through Balochistan which the previous governments neglected.

He said the present government is focusing on the development of Western Rout as tendering process of Zhob-Kuchlak road was completed whereas the tendering process for Dera Ismail Khan-Zhob would be finalized soon.

On security front, he said the government was actively engaged in the peace process of Afghanistan as without regional peace, the big projects like CPEC could not be materialized.

He said the PTI government had announced a historic development package of Rs 600 billion for nine districts of Southern Balochistan including Gwadar and Turbat.

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Chairman Parliamentary Committee on CPEC Shair Ali Arbab said that GDP growth of any country was linked with the industrialization and exports of a country therefore the government should prioritize this sector under CPEC.

“We have to become a regional competitive market and for this efficient industrial development is vital.”

He said financing of the mega ML-1 railway project would be finalize soon and groundbreaking of Rashakai and Faisalabad Special Economic Zones had already been done.

Convenor Senate Special Committee on National Cohesion Senator Muhammad Ali Saif said doors of opportunities were opened by facing the challenges and same was the case with the project of CPEC.

He said CPEC had more than one potential routs as it could be extended via Iran, and Afghanistan to Central Asia and beyond.

Director Pak-China Study Center Dr. Talat Shabir said so far over 3000 kilometers of roads had been materialized and 12000 MW of energy plants had been established under CPEC.

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He said CPEC will help reducing unemployment issue in the country as the project would create over two million jobs.

Business Editor of Dawn group, Khurrum Hussain said CPEC was not as beneficial as it was being projected by the governments of both China and Pakistan as it will facilitate trade of only Xinjiang province instead of whole China of which the GDP was almost equal to Pakistan.

Professor Dr Ishtiaq Hussain, however said it was too early to assume that it was not as much beneficial because it was still under construction phase.

“According to the Chinese scholar, CPEC is the most important project of the greater Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the real significance of the project will be seen when it will reach its full potential,” he added.

He also stressed the need to bridge the knowledge gap between the two countries saying that arrangements be made to learn languages of each other.