ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani emphasized on Friday that various mega projects being executed under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should be expedited, enabling people to reap the fruits of the development at the earliest.
“Completion of the projects for provision of clean drinking water, healthcare facilities, vocational training and sports infrastructure on priority basis is of vital importance for the province of Balochistan,” Sanjrani said this while talking to Ambassador of China Yao Jing here. Chief Secretary Balochistan Dr Muhammad Nazir was also present during the meeting.
Chairman Senate said that historic friendly relations between Pakistan and China had further strengthened due to enhanced economic cooperation between the two countries.
“Projects under CPEC are not only for the benefit of people of Balochistan but also very important for economic development of different areas of the country as well as providing a milestone for future development of China,” Sanjrani said and added that provision of quality health and education facilities would raise the standard of living of people of Balochistan.
He said that keeping in view the increasing requirement of health sector in the province, a hospital of international standard in Balochistan should be setup in addition to provision of added healthcare facilities to the people. He said the province is offering optimal investment opportunities due to ongoing development process in the province and there was a huge potential for the investment in fisheries sector.
Chairman Senate said that other less developed areas of the country should also be included in the development stream to provide better facilities at par with the developed areas. He said that there was a need to offer special scholarships for the students of Balochistan with the cooperation of Chinese government.
“Provincial government may provide these scholarships to the students of all the districts of province purely on merit so as to improve the standard of education especially in the neglected areas,” he noted.
Chairman Senate pointed out that as a part of the sport infrastructure development process in Balochistan, the first football stadium would be constructed in Quetta. He was also informed that different projects were being planned for less developed areas of the country with close collaboration of Chinese government and Ministry of Planning and Development.
Chinese Ambassador said that Pakistan and China friendship was time tested and the present economic partnership would be mutually beneficial for both the countries. He said that Chinese government was fully cooperating with government of Pakistan for the executing public welfare projects in less developed areas of the country with the active participation of the relevant provinces.
Meanwhile, Speaker Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Shah Ghulam Qadir made a courtesy call on Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwalla at the Parliament House. Issues of mutual interest, including security and environment were discussed.
Mandviwala stressed the need to promote tourism of AJK and also asserted the need for proper waste management mechanism to protect the Kashmir’s natural beauty and its immaculate environment.
Speaking about his recent visit to AJK, he conveyed the concerns and problems being faced by the people of Leepa Valley, Kashmir and said that a tunnel may be constructed with the help of any friendly country likewise Lowari Tunnel in order to get local people connected with other cities of AJK throughout the entire year.
While discussing the issues regarding treatment of Pakistani tax filers in the territories of AJK, Speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir said the AJK government was in constant consultation with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to integrate the systems and hopefully it would be integrated soon.
Deputy Chairman Senate said a meeting would be called with the FBR and relevant stakeholders and the matter would be taken up with them.
He also stressed the need to enhance interaction between the two Parliaments and said that he would visit the AJK Assembly in near future.
In another development, Ambassador of Switzerland Thomas Kolly met Deputy Chairman Senate and exchanged views over bilateral relationship and friendship.
Mandviwala said there was a dire need to enhance Parliamentary activities between the two countries in order to encourage exchange of ideas and partnerships. He stressed the need for the activation of friendship groups on both sides and extended invitation to President of Council of States in Switzerland.
Speaking about investment and trade issues, Mandviwala said that currently there existed trade around dollars 1.2 billion between Pakistan and Switzerland, of which a major chunk consisted of Pakistani imports. He said the Ambassador of Switzerland may advise Pakistan on ways to enhance business-to-business contacts and also identify Pakistani products having high potential in Swiss markets.
Deputy Chairman Senate also stressed the Swiss government to review its decision of closing down the Consulate of Switzerland in Karachi and suggested to open it again for the general public and business people due to economic and political significance of the city. He said a representative of the Switzerland Embassy may be assigned at the initial stage.
The Ambassador of Switzerland agreed with the views of Deputy Chairman Senate and said that both countries can achieve a lot through enhanced interactions and increased bilateral cooperation.
He said that trade and investment is in the interest of both the countries and would open up new avenues of bilateral cooperation in near future.
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