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National

June 10, 2018

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‘CPEC has potential to transform lives of billions’

LONDON: The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) provides a rare opportunity for the convergence of global civilisations with potential to transform lives of billions of people if the opportunities offered by this project are availed, speakers said at a conference here.

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the London Institute of South Asia (LISAUK) organised a joint conference which was addressed by members of think-tanks and professionals who are linked with the project. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Syed Ibne Abbas was present at the conference and invited Britain to become a partner in the project.

Speakers looked at various aspects of the project and assessed the opportunities and risks related to the project that’s seen globally as a game changer in the region. They said that regional countries, neighbours, Europe and America can associate with the project and become part of the phenomenon that’s unfolding in the region as a result of the CPEC development.

Saeed Ismat, LIS UK’s Director, said that vision of CPEC is huge and it’s set to transform Pakistan and many other countries which have joined it. He said CPEC offers opportunities for the convergence of civilisation. He said there’s Russia is one side, Hindu civilisation is there, Pakistani and Muslim civilisation is there, there is China, Arab and European civilisation nearby the project. “It’s a great convergence point. This can create cultural and political harmony,” he said.

Saeed Ismat said there are internal and external factors which can impact the progress of the project. He said there was political turmoil in Pakistan at the moment, but it was a “natural process” and no matter who is in government and whatever the nature of instability, it will have no bearings on CPEC.

“Any government that comes into power will carry it on. It has bright future. There are impediments in the way as India and America have been conspiring against it but I understand that they have to be engaged diplomatically and Pakistani viewpoint explained to them. We need diplomacy,” he said.

Saeed said Pakistan has already offered India and Afghanistan to join the project and become its part. He said it’s in the interest of local powers to join Pakistan to end poverty and deprivations.

Pakistan-Britain Business Council’s Julian Hamilton Barnes said opportunities are profound and massive investment will take place in infrastructure, fibre development, real estate and energy.

“CPEC brings enormous investment to Pakistan. There are enormous additional benefits, as these projects create work and help economy. There are risks on the political side, as Pakistan has complications within the political side. Political parties have to be brought together and all provinces should get their due share and get benefits. Issue of extremism and terrorism has to be effectively dealt with,” he said.

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