BRI, CPEC viable manifestation of win-win cooperation & shared prosperity: Ambassador Hashmi

BEIJING: Pakistan Ambassador to China, Khalil Hashmi has said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its flagship project – China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), is a practical manifestation of win-win cooperation and shared prosperity for both China and Pakistan and the countries participating in the initiative.
Sharing his vision for collaboration between China and Pakistan in the upcoming decade, he told CGTN in an interview that there is an excellent foundation that already exists in the last 10 years or before. “So, going forward, we have the essential constituents, which is the infrastructure and energy in place.”
Expressing a need to intensify focus on industrial cooperation, he said, it means special economic zones, enhanced trade and investment and cooperation in Information Technology and agriculture, adding there are also areas within these bigger fields.
Expressing his resolve to deepen the economic relationship between the two countries, he said, Pakistan and China have signed a free trade agreement. They have signed five protocols on agriculture this year. Pakistan’s exports to China have increased. Trade volume between the two countries has increased.
On connectivity projects from the Karakoram Highway to the Gwadar port to enhance ties between the two countries, he said, these projects are essentially about connectivity and infrastructure development. But more than that it is a vehicle or a means for people-centred development to use it as a platform to enhance livelihoods for people.
He said the Silk Road is an ancient connection for the people and in the 1960s, the two countries jointly built Karakoram Highway. With the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor coming into play in the last 10 years, we are going into a new high gear which is Phase II of the Karakoram Highway.
Gwadar port is functional and that is also a great example of Pakistan and China working together to build means of transport and livelihood.
In his remarks on the role of infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to enhance people’s livelihoods, he said, that in the last 10 years, 236,000 jobs have been created. More than 8,000 megawatts of electricity have been added to our national grid. More than 800 kilometres of highways have been built. Nearly, 900 kilometres of electricity transmission lines have been upgraded.
“I think this is a huge contribution in terms of direct contribution to the creation of jobs but also laying the foundation for people to enjoy the benefits of development on a more longer term and more sustained basis,” he added.
About his priorities as the newly appointed ambassador of Pakistan to China, he vowed to help implement the consensus and decisions reached between the leadership of the two countries.
To deepen the very high level of trust that we have between our governments, people and institutions, we will also promote people-to-people connections more specifically in the area of art, culture and tourism, he added.
He said that this year, the Pakistan embassy organized a visit of 15 Chinese tour operators to Pakistan to explore the possibilities of more Chinese tourists going to Pakistan.
And then this year in November, eight Pakistani tour operators arrived in China and participated for the first time in the Beijing outbound travel and tourism fair.
“We have a very unique time-tested, ironclad partnership between our two countries. And this is rooted in the hearts of the people. So, these excellent political and diplomatic relations, I think are also a basis to further promote and deepen our economic and our people-to-people relations. So that would be my priorities,” he added. – APP