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Beijing, May 14, 2017: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal has said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the cornerstone of China’s Belt & Road initiative. He stated this while delivering a key note address in the thematic session on “Policy Coordination and Synergy of Development Strategies” which was part of Belt and Road Forum (BRF) being organized by China from 14-15 May.

Prof. Ahsan Iqbal said that present times of the world can be described with a Chinese saying that “when the fish is out of water, it flips and flops in search of peace but every flip leaves to more pain until it finds its way back to water”. In this context, he added that “China’s One Belt One Road initiative offer opportunities to “flip flop global economy”.

He further added that Pakistan was pleased to be part of OBOR’s flagship project through CPEC which will give impetus to regional connectivity. He noted that Pakistan is strategically located at the intersection of three engines of growth i.e. South Asia, China and Central Asia and can thus bolster the economic growth of region and improve lives of three billion people.

Elaborating the intrinsic spirit of Silk Road that reflected openness and inclusiveness, he keenly noted that “welcoming cooperation with open doors and ensuring benefits for all is the only way forward and history has proven that closed and exclusive arrangements have no future”.

He said that Pakistan is actively engaged in China’s One Belt One Road initiative through CPEC. He noted that CPEC through capital portfolio of over US $50 billion is one of the biggest regional cooperation projects of the world.

He said that CPEC is contributing to betterment of lives of around 200 million people in Pakistan by overcoming energy deficit and creating new job markets. He reiterated that Pakistan is cognizant of the fact that development of modern transportation infrastructure plays a pivotal role in economic development and attracting investments. 7th Pillar of Pakistan’s Vision 2025 seeks to establish an efficient and integrated transportation system that will facilitate the development of a competitive economy by enabling greater regional connectivity.

 “Pakistan strongly believes that to harness this opportunity, we all collectively need to work and promote peace and security and greater harmony in the region”, Minister Iqbal said during the conference.

He said that development of Gwadar Port will allow access to Indian Ocean to land locked Central Asian Republics as well as other countries of the region. He remarked that the world is transforming from industrial economy to knowledge economy. The establishment of nine industrial zones as agreed during 6th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting in December 2016 will create new job markets and accommodate the talented youth budge of Pakistan’s population.

He said that strong mechanism of policy coordination and implementation framework for CPEC developed by the two countries is leading CPEC to success. He noted that “regular meetings of Joint Cooperation Committees and Joint Working Groups have enabled the leadership of both countries to overcome hurdles, technical procedures and align policies for realizing this great dream”.

The BRF is part of the 'Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road' initiative launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

The May 14-15 forum is being attended by 29 heads of state and government, besides delegates from around 130 countries.