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Social sector development under CPEC top priority of PM Imran Khan

  • June 6, 2019
Social sector development under CPEC top priority of PM Imran Khan
Image caption Social sector development under CPEC top priority of PM Imran Khan

BEIJING: Prime Minister Imran Khan has focused more on attracting investment in the social sector within the framework of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which would directly benefit the people of Pakistan, Focal Person of Chief Minister of Balochistan's Task Force on Youth, Sustainable Development Goals, Naseem Khan Achakzai said on Tuesday.

"Within the CPEC project, the Chinese government is expected to help Pakistan build hospitals and schools. This is one of the Prime Minister's focuses, which will directly benefit the people of Pakistan," he said in an exclusive interview with Global Times during his visit to the Chinese capital city.

On the construction of Gwadar Port and other CPEC projects, he remarked that for the growth of CPEC, the Gwadar international airport will be built three years from now, so the port is now somehow operational. There have been housing entities coming to Gwadar.

Gwadar will have its new master plan as well. There's a lot of construction going on when it comes to development projects. Thanks to CPEC, a lot of people, mostly Pakistanis, are purchasing property, both residential and commercial, in Gwadar, he added He informed that there are military troops and the local police who are guarding CPEC projects. The port is not accessible to everyone, only relevant employees.

"It's well understood that the development of CPEC helps improve Pakistan's infrastructure and its economy. It's beneficial for neighboring countries such as Iran and Afghanistan as well. If all goes smoothly, Pakistan will be an even stronger player in the South Asian region,"he added.

Naseem Achakzai said that increasing technology exchange is one of the important things that should be done. That can be best practiced in the agriculture sector, as Pakistan's economy is highly dependent on the agriculture sector.

It is hoped that there should be greater cooperation in the agricultural field between China and Pakistan for local farmers and landowners to have more produce. A lot of technology has been used in farming in China. The same can be replicated in Pakistan.

Pakistan, he said, also needs to focus even more on healthcare and education, and obviously under the umbrella would be needing further support in these sectors.

He said education and employment are directly interrelated in that improved vocational and technical training, in particular, could better prepare the local labor force for wide-ranging job opportunities enabled by CPEC.

As the project goes further, more jobs will be created and an increase in engineering and exchange in technical know-how will be expected, factoring into the vision that there will be industrial zones around the CPEC route, he added.

While dispelling undue fears over the flagship project, he said since the announcement of CPEC in 2013, the security situation in the whole of Balochistan has improved substantially. From 2013 to date, figures show there's been a rapid decrease in attacks and other target killings.

The Pakistani military has a special division assigned for the CPEC project, he added.

Naseem Achakzai said the stability in Gwadar and Balochistan is very important for CPEC, since Gwadar is the heart and soul of CPEC. After the attack, Pakistan has already been acting more against the terrorist groups.

At the end of March, the second international Gwadar expo was held in the port city, with many high-level Chinese and Pakistan officials attending the expo.

Balochistan is on the road toward progress and stability under the dynamic leadership of Jam Kamal Khan, Chief Minister Balochistan.

About the disputes over route selection, he said there was a disagreement over the route, as everyone wanted a share of the CPEC's cake. But it's different now, with side links out there connecting the CPEC main route to all provinces. There's no such issue pending right now.

"Once there's heavy traffic coming on the main route, there are side links attached to it, initially giving a boost to local tourism and local businesses such as restaurants. Everybody is excited about it," he added.

While commenting on people to people exchanges under CPEC, he said there have been signs of increasing people-to-people exchanges in recent years, an improvement from merely diplomatic exchanges some years ago.

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