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Pakistan, China to counter all challenges to CPEC: Mushahid

November 18, 2018

BEIJING: Chairman of Pakistan China Institute and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain said that Pakistan and China to jointly-counter all challenges to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He was addressing the 4th CPEC Media Forum, which concluded here on Saturday.

The China Economic Net (CEN) and the Pakistan-China Institute (PCI), in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, jointly organised the Media Forum.

The purpose of the forum was to disseminate factual information on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and also to devise a joint Pakistan-China strategy to counter negative perceptions that are generated by vested interests and detractors in the region. A 12-member delegation took part in the event, led by Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman PCI and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khalid while giving his opening remarks talked about the stance of the new government on CPEC, after the conclusion of the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China. During that visit both countries have expressed satisfaction with progress of CPEC, both sides are committed to agree to complete the ongoing projects of CPEC, as well as create employment, enhance people’s welfare and promote industrial development. The two sides also agreed to promote the construction of CPEC in the future by taking it to the next phase which will be decided at the upcoming meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of CPEC in Beijing next month, and both sides also agreed to create a social economic development working group apart from a political working group through the two Foreign Ministries.” The Ambassador also emphasised the role of media in disseminating accurate information on CPEC and said that there should be more media interaction between the two countries. “We need to guard BRI and CPEC against the growing negativity of its detractors.”

Senator Mushahid Hussain said that there is a shift in the global economic and political power from the West to the East, and China’s peaceful rise and amazing development is an important inspiration for developing countries. The BRI has now spawned a “Greater South Asia comprising South Asia, Central Asia, China, Iran and Afghanistan driven by economy and energy”. The One Belt, One Road is opening the door to a new world with CPEC as its success story since it is the flagship and pilot project of the BRI.

“Gwadar Port, centerpiece of CPEC, is now a very active functional port and it is opening up the entire region, not just Pakistan.” He also lauded CPEC’s role, as an ‘irreversible, mutually beneficial strategic project which has national consensus’ in Pakistan’s economic growth rate, saying the highest 5.8% growth rate in a decade is attributable to CPEC, plus the Western route has connected Quetta to Gwadar with an 8-hour road journey. Pakistan’s chronic energy crisis has been controlled, with an additional nearly 10,000 megawatts of electricity since launch of CPEC, and in Thar, coal is being mined and turned into electricity. Citing the importance of media, the he said, “today, we are seeking to establish a rapid response information mechanism through collaboration between Pakistan-China Institute & China Economic Net, which both have the most popular website on CPEC & BRI’. Former Information Minister Senator Pervez Rashid urged the need to counter-terrorism and extremism to create a conducive environment for promotion of CPEC. Dr Shezra Mansab Ali Kharal, ex-MNA, spoke about role of women in CPEC, including employment & empowerment of women in Thar where women work as truck drivers.

After the speeches in the opening session, an award ceremony was also held titled “CPEC Communication Golden Anchor Awards,” judged by a jury from both Pakistan and China, where winners were presented the awards by Ambassador Masood Khalid for best reporting on CPEC, both in Pakistan & China.

PCI also announced the Rapid Response Information-Exchange Network (RRIN), in collaboration with CEN, using a 3 Cs approach: counter negativity, compare Chinese assistance and CPEC with others since on CPEC there are no political strings attached, and connect the Pakistani & Chinese media, which will use the increased role of media in disseminating facts and accurate, updated information on CPEC.

Addressing the session on “The Way Forward”, Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director, Pakistan-China Institute, termed the CPEC Media Forum as a ‘shining example of Pakistan-China media cooperation’.

The event concluded with sessions on “CPEC and Pakistan-China Media Cooperation”, “Strengthening Information Exchange between China and Pakistan Media” and “Facts-Based Construction of Narratives on BRI and CPEC”, where media persons from both Pakistan and China gave their input on increasing media collaboration between the two countries.

The event had representation of senior journalists

from print, electronic and digital media the top media outlets, government and Communist Party of China officials, parliamentarians, academia and students.