General Qamar Javed Bajwa reiterated on Wednesday the determination of the army and other law enforcement agencies to provide fool-proof security to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) calling the multibillion-dollar project ‘harbinger of peace and prosperity’ in the region.
“While the army will provide security to the project [CPEC], the other national institutions will have to come forward and play their respective roles,” he said while speaking at a function in Islamabad on CPEC Logistics on Wednesday.
“We as a nation can only benefit from this historic opportunity, if we prepare ourselves to embrace it. All national institutions will have to make a deliberate effort to ensure success of CPEC,” he added.
CPEC is truly a harbinger of economic development, peace and prosperity in the region, he said, adding that unlike some other countries of South Asia, Pakistan believes in focusing its energies on peace and inclusiveness, rather than divisive competition. He was apparently referring to India which publicly opposes the multibillion-dollar project.
“CPEC would bring increasing economic integration among regional economies and reduce the development gap within various regions of Pakistan,” he said.
Gen Qamar said the Chinese investment in various fields, including energy, infrastructure, Gwadar port and special economic zones, can lay the foundation of a fast-developing Pakistan if the opportunity was optimally utilised.
“We take immense pride in our relationship with China that has always remained on an ascending trajectory and now encompasses almost every sphere of our life. The lasting imprint of this brotherly partnership is visible in state-to-state, military-to-military, business-to-business and people-to-people contacts,” he said.
The army chief went on to say that the Sino-Pak relationship is based on the principles of peaceful co-existence, commonality of interest and shared perception on regional and global issues. “We have always stood by each other through thick and thin and at every critical juncture of our history. That is why we are called Iron brothers.
“Xi Jinping’s grand vision of One Belt, One Road (OBOR) has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for the countries of the region and beyond. CPEC, being an important project of OBOR, holds great promise for turning around the economies of Pakistan, Western China and the region,” he added.
The army chief said to reap benefits from CPEC Pakistan needs education, training and skill development of the youth. “We also need to improve our existing laws and regulations to provide a facilitating framework for trade and investment activities. We need infrastructure and urban planning to ensure that we are able to handle large volume of business and transport, without any hassle,” he added.
Commenting on the prevailing security situation in Pakistan, Gen Qamar said the “country is much safer today than before as peace has been restored in Fata and the adjoining areas”. He said normalcy was also returning to Karachi. “Similarly, the law and order situation has improved significantly in Balochistan and there is great focus on socio-economic development in the province,” he added.
“Pakistan is a resilient nation of over 200 million people, with a large ratio of vibrant, capable and enthusiastic youth. We need to capitalize on this opportunity to make Pakistan an economic power in coming years,” he added.
He encouraged entrepreneurs to join hands with Chinese investors and make this dream a reality. “My dream is that by the year 2030, when we complete the current phase of economic partnership between the two countries, Pakistan should at least be in league with middle income countries,” he stated.