ISLAMABAD: Planning, Development and Reform Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that universities in Fata, Zhob, Gwadar and those located on western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will start functioning this year and produce quality human resource for the CPEC.
These institutes are part of the government’s efforts along with the focus on infrastructure development and energy production through the mega development programme.
He made the remarks at a seminar on the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor; Opportunities and Challenges”, organised by Preston University at the National Library, where he was the chief guest.
Iqbal described the CPEC as a trans-regional project that would benefit three billion people of the region and through enhanced connectivity with other countries, it would play an instrumental role in integrating the whole region.
He dispelled the impression that the CPEC would benefit any single province and said this controversy was political and had no relevance with facts, adding there was a consensus among all parties on developing the corridor.
“CPEC would benefit the most backward areas of the country and this change can be seen in the emerging human settlements on sections of the western route from Quetta to Gwadar, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.” He said the completion of western and central routes would bring a new era of development and prosperity in Balochistan.
Referring to energy projects, he said Sindh was the largest recipient of projects where $11.5 billion of the $35 billion worth of energy schemes were being implemented under the CPEC.
Iqbal said the CPEC was not a project restricted to the current government’s tenure but it was a 15-year venture expected to be completed by 2030. It would focus on infrastructure development, Gwadar seaport, energy and industrial cooperation.
Along with the CPEC, the Tapi gas pipeline and CASA-1,000 power import projects would redefine cooperation in western Asia.
Iqbal called on scholars and the academia to join hands with the government to tackle the challenges facing the CPEC in the optimal utilisation of its potential.