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ISLAMABAD, Sep 21 (APP): Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan on Wednesday said that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has transformed the strategic relations and alliance between the two countries into a solid economic cooperation which would further cement the deep rooted friendship.

The minister said that CPEC had come on the right time when Pakistan’s economy was re-emerging after decades of instability in the country.

“For the first time in history of Pakistan, one democratically elected government handed over the government to another democratically elected government after completing its five years term and now the current government is also going to complete its term”, Khurram Dastgir said while addressing the concluding session of a two-day conference on CPEC here.

The conference was organized by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) in collaboration with Hanns Seidel Foundation.

He said violent extremism hit the country hard during previous decades but now due to operation Zarb-e-Azb the violence had been subsided significantly and with every passing moment Pakistan was becoming more and more peaceful country.

“Right on this time when the country was set alone in the international community due to terrorism, our great friend stepped up and offered to start the mega project”, the minister added.

He however said China had also its own benefits from the project but Pakistan would also gain a big benefit.

Highlighting economic achievements of the current government, the minister said that for the first time in the country’s history program with International Monetary Fund (IMF) was successfully concluded while foreign exchange reserves also crossed record $22 billion in the country.

He said due to a number of initiatives taken by the PML-N government, energy crisis in the country had also minimized.

He said since October, 2015, there was zero load shedding in industrial sector in the country.

The minister said CPEC would benefit all parts of the country however he also cautioned that political instability would be a great risk to the mega project.

Meanwhile addressing on the occasion Chinese Deputy Ambassador, Zhao Lijian said that the world largest construction company was implementing Sukkur-Multan section of Karachi-Lahore motorway project creating more than 10,000 jobs for local people of Punjab and Sindh provinces.

As many as 20 camps had been set up for the staff participating the construction work of US$ 2.9 billion mega project, he added.

Terming CPEC as flagship projects of One Belt One Road initiative by Chinese President, Xi Jinping, he said, his country had so far invested US$ 14 billion in 30 early harvest projects being completed under CPEC out of which 16 were under construction.

Ambassador Sohail Amin, President Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) said that the CPEC infrastructure projects, including the Processing and Industrial Production Zones along the Corridor route once completed would open up and connect the least developed districts of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Gilgit-Baltistan, with the mainstream national and even regional economies.