Seminar sensitises students to various aspects of CPEC
The University of Sargodha on February 7, 2019 organized a seminar titled ‘China-Pakistan Relation: The Case of CPEC’ to sensitise the students to China Pakistan Economic Corridor and to discuss the various aspects and consequences of the mega project.
The seminar, arranged by the Department of History and Pakistan Studies, focused on CPEC which is a matter of interest for both the countries, and evolution of China from a similar economic condition where Pakistan stands today. Dr Fazl-ur-Rahman, Director Pakistan Institute of China Studies, Sargodha University was the chief guest while the guest of honour was Dr Ejaz Hussain, Head of the Department of Social Sciences, Iqra University Islamabad.
Addressing the seminar, Dr Ejaz Hussain informed the students that CPEC – a pilot project of Belt and Road Initiative – had been launched four years ago with an initial size of the $46 billion. Under this project, 6 corridors, industrial zones at various spots and energy projects would be constructed to provide a long term solution of the drastic energy crisis and growing business needs of Pakistan.
Eleven development projects have been completed so far while 11 others are under construction. Gwadar Port has been made operational and work in progress on projects including Port Qasim Electric Power Company, coal-fired power plant in Tharparkar, Sachal wind power project, phase one of Free Zone and motorway from Karachi to Peshawar, he explained.
Talking about the internal threats to the CPEC, Dr Hussain said that Pakistan has been hit by environmental degradation, terrorism, political instability and bad governance and a profound national narrative, quality-based education system and provincial autonomy are needed to address these issues.
He was of the opinion that Pakistan has to reconsider its foreign policy to build strong relations with the neighboring countries including India, Afghanistan, Iran and Middle Eastern and Central Asian states.
Dr Fazl-ur-Rahman said: "CPEC is a major and pilot project of the Belt and Road Initiative and one major platform for comprehensive and substantive cooperation between China and Pakistan."
Reviewing the Pak-China relations and CPEC, Dr Rahman stated that the project was a historic initiative that would help Pakistan to attract investors to invest along the corridor, which would create jobs and business opportunities for the locals.
He brushed aside certain negative perceptions about CPEC and said "we have to deconstruct the establishing controversy against the multi-billionaire investment as it was beneficial for both the countries and would help bring economic stability to Pakistan.
Dr Rahman dismissed the impression that China had hegemonic or political design under the garb of CPEC and said that Pakistan wanted economic stability and peace in the region and China is already on it.
He said that although Pakistan-China relations are rock solid, in the current geopolitical circumstances, when both Pakistan and China confront threats and pressure from their adversaries, it appears essential to elevate their strategic partnership to an even higher level.
The seminar ended with a comprehensive Q&A session during which the students asked questions about the fruits and controversies establishing against the project. The speakers appreciated the knowledge and the ability of the students to think critically.