Islamabad: 22nd June 2023: Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal delivered a keynote address at curtain raiser event commemorating the 10-year milestone of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a special ceremony marking the successful completion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project's first decade.
Minister Ahsan Iqbal expressed his gratitude and humbleness at the ceremony, reflecting on the journey of CPEC that began on August 27, 2013, with the co-chairing of the first Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting alongside the Chinese Vice Chairman of NDRC. He acknowledged that the inception of CPEC was a result of the visionary economic partnership proposed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his visit to China in July 2013.
The Planning Minister highlighted the transformational impact of CPEC on Pakistan's economy. He emphasized that CPEC had successfully shifted the country's focus from geopolitics to geo-economics, resulting in unprecedented achievements between 2013 and 2018. Minister Ahsan Iqbal commended the remarkable progress made during this period, such as the eradication of load shedding through the addition of over 11,000 megawatts of electricity, the construction of motorways and expressways, and the development of a modern information highway through fiber optics.
He acknowledged the initial resistance and controversies faced by CPEC, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces. However, Minister Ahsan Iqbal stressed the determination of the Pakistani government and people to ensure the success of CPEC. He praised the unified support of the entire nation, including political parties and provincial leadership, which played a crucial role in dispelling false narratives and consolidating national consensus on the non-controversial nature of CPEC.
Moreover, Minister Ahsan Iqbal recognized the invaluable contribution of Chinese workers, engineers, and officials who dedicated themselves to the success of CPEC. He expressed deep gratitude to these unsung heroes who worked tirelessly, away from their families, to realize the shared vision of prosperity between China and Pakistan.
While celebrating the achievements of the first decade, Minister Ahsan Iqbal also acknowledged the challenges faced and missed opportunities in recent years. He emphasized the need to maintain momentum and prioritize the completion of economic zones to attract private investment and job creation. Minister Ahsan Iqbal vowed to rectify past shortcomings and propel CPEC forward to bring peace, prosperity, and regional cooperation.
The ceremony served as a curtain-raiser for a series of nationwide events that will showcase CPEC's contributions to every province of Pakistan. Minister Ahsan Iqbal highlighted the importance of remembering and acknowledging China's friendship and contributions to Pakistan's development. He urged the Pakistani nation to regain hope, emphasizing the country's potential to overcome challenges and become a regional powerhouse.
In conclusion, Minister Ahsan Iqbal expressed gratitude for China's unwavering friendship and reiterated the commitment of the Pakistani government to strengthen and further expand the bilateral cooperation under CPEC.