Ahsan Iqbal on Pakistan and China Economic Cooperation

Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reforms said, “Pakistan and China cooperation has entered into a new era of strategic economic cooperation. While both Pakistan and China enjoy closest political relations but we failed to translate this goodwill into strong economic cooperation. The volume of trade between two countries is meager $ 12 billion. The present leadership of both countries is committed to fixing this imbalance. We must learn lessons from Chinese experiences. The link between Reforms, Development, and Stability is most critical in developing any economy. In order to transform Pakistan into a Knowledge Economy we must ensure stability and become a symbol of hard and quality work in the world.” He was speaking to media on occasion of Mr Zhang Xiaoqiang, Vice Chairman/Minister, National Development & Reforms Commission, China’s visit to Gawadar port.

He said, “Gawadar Port has great economic potential in the development of this region. its development will bring job opportunities and economic development to Balochistan. We hope that under Chinese company the work of Gawadar Port development will speed up. Projects to connect Gawadar Port with road network are being fast tracked. Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province with rich natural resources. In the past lip service was paid to development of Balochistan but present government believes in actions. Development of Balochistan is one of key objectives of Pakistan 2025 Plan. The future belongs to education and knowledge. Unfortunately, Balochistan is lagging behind other provinces in education indicators. Those targeting teachers in Balochistan are doing biggest disservice to Balochis by denying Balochi youth opportunities of quality education which is the key to a prosperous future.”

He said, “We wholeheartedly welcome Mr Akhtar Mengal’s taking oath as Member of Balochistan Assembly. Resolution of all political disputes can be found with strengthening of democratic institutions. PM Nawaz Sharif is committed to bringing an end to bloodshed in Balochistan. Those who are helping to promote terrorism and violence in Balochistan are not friends of Balochis, they are enemies of Pakistan and using some elements inside Balochistan for their ulterior motives.”

He said, “During previous regime of PMLN Makran coast development masterplan was developed under Pakistan 2010 Programme, which was scrapped by Musharaf government. Ministry of Planning, Development & Reforms has been directed to revive the plan. Makran coast offers great opportunities for development. The 750 kilometers stretch of coastline can bring enormous opportunities for local population. We invite all political forces in Balochistan to join us in transforming Balochistan into a developed province through education, infrastructure building, and good governance.”