Ikram Bukhari


Prime Minister Imran Khan has termed the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a “mechanism” which would not only help the regional economy but will also increase connectivity and open new doors of investments.

In his keynote address at the China International Export Expo in Shanghai on Monday, the PM said: “CPEC is a mechanism that will forge even closer connectivity between the Middle East and China and between central and South Asia.”

PM Khan lauded Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision to open the “doors of China” to the world “at a time when the international trade system is under attack, when unilateral commercial benefits are being sought aggressively by some (and) when protectionism is on the rise”.

He highlighted Pakistan’s importance to President Xi’s ambitious Belt and Road economic initiative — of which CPEC is a part — and said that access to Gwadar Port is vital for China to gain access to the rest of the region.

“In Pakistan, the Karakoram Highway merges into a network of modern highways that are part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. These take you to the deep sea port of Gwadar – the point where the Belt and Road converges. This impacts not only Pakistan but has an impact on all the economies of the entire region.”

PM also talked about the advantages that CPEC would bring to the region and said: “CPEC shall cut distances and costs bringing much needed resources to producers and new products to consumers. It is opening fresh investment avenues, new markets (and) new vistas.”

The premier then emphasised on his party’s desire to bring about ‘change’ in Pakistan by initiating deep and meaningful reforms impacting all sectors and every aspect of governance”.

He further said, “We are committed to improving our framework of transparency and accountability,” adding that his government was looking to improving governance and business by using “seamless and smart technology”.

PM also highlighted the assets that make Pakistan an attractive place to invest in.

“We in Pakistan are blessed with an abundant array of resources ranging from minerals to fertile land, to a wealth of renewables and the most diverse landscape with 12 climatic zones,” he pointed out. He also mentioned Pakistan’s major industries, including textile, surgical and sports goods etc.

“But by far, our greatest and most promising resource is human,” he declared. “We have 100 million Pakistanis below the age of 35 — a young, vibrant population. And the Naya, or new, Pakistan will be a more conducive and more competitive place for transacting business.”

Prime Minster of Pakistan Imran Khan met the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of China International Import Expo, in Shanghai.

The two PMs expressed satisfaction on the upward trajectory of the bilateral relations. Reviewing ongoing economic, trade, defence and energy cooperation, the Prime Minister Khan stressed that the two sides should explore complementarities to maximise mutual benefit. Explaining his government’s priorities, the prime minister underlined the importance of increasing economic cooperation with Russian Federation and invited Russian investments in Pakistan. He welcomed Russian investments in the energy sector in Pakistan.

Russian PM congratulated Prime Minister Khan on his election and underlined the importance of further strengthening bilateral relations especially in view of the changing regional dynamics.

The two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation on multilateral forums, particularly the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. They also exchanged views on regional issues including situation in South Asia and Afghanistan.