CPEC can be utilised to improve Pakistan’s economy: FM Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi remarked on Tuesday that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can not only be utilised to improve Pakistan’s economy but can also be a game-changer for the region.
According to Radio Pakistan, the foreign minister emphasised enhancing connectivity to improve the economy and cultural linkages at a ceremony in Islamabad. Qureshi reiterated that the Gwadar port in Balochistan holds a “key position” in the multi-billion-dollar project.
“Pakistan welcomes the foreign investment in special economic zones under CPEC,” remarked Qureshi. The foreign minister also emphasised the need for close coordination on the situation in Afghanistan and called it a “shared responsibility” of the world.
“Peace in Afghanistan would bring stability in the region, promote trade and facilitate linkages,” said Pakistan’s top diplomat.
The foreign minister said that the United Nations discussed the Kashmir issue three times since August 5, 2019, at Pakistan’s request. Imran Khan’s vision is based on peaceful neighborhood, interfaith harmony and amicable resolution of conflicts,” Qureshi concluded.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said despite provocations from India, Pakistan opened the Kartarpur Corridor in November 2019 giving Sikhs from India and all over the world visa-free access to one of their holiest sites.
“Our gesture is a manifestation of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for the region and for Pakistan-India relations, which consists of peaceful co-existence, interfaith harmony, and peaceful resolution of disputes,” he said while addressing the participants of the National Security and War Course here at the National Defence University.
The foreign minister’s lecture on ‘Contours of Pakistan’s foreign policy and challenges’ was attended by the civil and military officers of the country besides the course participants from several friendly countries.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the sustainable peace in South Asia was contingent upon the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. He said the onus remained on India to create a conducive environment for meaningful and result-oriented engagement with Pakistan.
Qureshi said following India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019, under PM Imran Khan’s instructions, the government took up the Kashmir cause worldwide with renewed vigour and determination, and highlighted the dire humanitarian and human rights situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
He mentioned that the government also exposed the threat posed to international peace and security by Indian belligerence at all available forums.
The foreign minister said Pakistan lied at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and China. “Better connectivity is therefore essential to promoting the country’s economic interests and reinvigorating our cultural and historical ties,” he said.
Terming the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a flagship undertaking with regard to connectivity, he said Pakistan saw the framework as a game-changer not only for itself but for the region as well.
He said the Gwadar Port was one of the vital components of the CPEC framework, including being the world’s only natural deep-sea port, linking the BRI and the Silk Road projects, and being the shortest route to Central Asia and Afghanistan.
“We see Gwadar as the harbinger of immense possibilities for regional cooperation and common economic benefits,” he said. He added Pakistan was open to third countries investing in the Special Economic Zones being developed along the CPEC.
“This would bring to fruition our vision of regional connectivity and common development,” he added. Qureshi said Pakistan’s foreign policy must respond adequately to the shifting trends.
“Keeping our interests supreme, we must navigate through this external environment to ensure that Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence are secured and its development agenda is advanced.
“We have tried to reinvigorate existing partnerships and establish new ones on the premise of mutuality of interest, transparency and respect for sovereignty,” he said. – TLTP

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