CPEC helped change world’s lens for Pakistan: Ahsan

He remarked that the 21st century saw a transition from geopolitics to geo-economics

By Our Correspondent
May 18, 2024
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal addressing the Press Conference. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal Friday participated in a national workshop on “CPEC’s impact on socioeconomic development and security of Balochistan” at the National Defence University here.


Shi Yuanqiang, DCM of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, participated in the event.

The purpose of the event was to engage with the parliamentarians, students, civil society and academia from Balochistan particularly and other areas of Pakistan.

Shi Yuanqiang congratulated the minister on his recent visit to China that has helped revitalized CPEC and paved the way for major breakthroughs in the upcoming visits of prime minister of Pakistan. Moreover, he pointed out that as envisioned by China, CPEC had indeed been a game changer creating jobs and livelihoods across Pakistan.

In his address, Ahsan thanked China for stepping up back in 2013 when the world was terming Pakistan a safe haven for terrorism but CPEC helped change the world’s lens for Pakistan from a security state to a land of foreign direct investment opportunities.

He said in the recent World Economic Forum event, misinformation, followed by polarisation, was ranked as the biggest risk and threat to the world, and the same risk had haunted Pakistan. Thus, it is imperative that we limit our vulnerability to misinformation and polarization of society to protect mega development projects like CPEC, he added.

He remarked that the 21st century saw a transition from geopolitics to geo-economics. In 2013, the government recognized this and took initiative to transform years-long brotherly relations of Pakistan-China into actual economic ties. It came as a shock to Ahsan when he found out that in 2013, China ranked as 12-13th interns of FDI in Pakistan - CPEC helped China become as the top in list of FDI in Pakistan.

The minister said Pakistan must realize that today there is no global block politics on the basis of ethnicity, religion and other conventional factors instead today’s politics centers around geo-economics. The economic strength of passport determines entry to G-7, G-20 and other trading blocks.

He said CPEC was key to sustainable development as it ensured i) creation of wealth ii) distribution of wealth iii) promoting competitiveness. CPEC’s gains in the energy sector where an additional 7000 MWs of electricity has been added to the national grid and infrastructure sector, where thousands of kilometers long motorways/roads have been built, has made enemy nervy and triggered propaganda against the project that was thwarted successfully.

He said it’s sad that Pakistan had not been able to capitalize episodic economic progress episodes in 1965, where war had badly affected it.

In 1991, when the government opened markets, worked on deregulations/financial inclusion and other progressive measures but all measures became a victim of political instability.

In 2018, CPEC brought an FDI of around $46bn out of which $25bn was actualized but the political adventurism cost Pakistan and resulted in derailing of CPEC.

The loss of momentum in CPEC is a dent in all the hard work that led to the initiation of work on Gwadar Port, Gwadar Hospital, Gwadar Business Free Zone, Resolution of Supply of Water and Electricity to Gwadar, Road Connectivity of Gwadar to Quetta in which 40 FWO Jawans were martyred, Special Economic Zones, Gwadar University and others - From 2018-22 there was absolutely no progress resulting in additional grievances of the people.