Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was no longer limited to a communication project, as the government was moving forward from the communication linkages to the industrial growth.
Addressing the signing ceremony of ‘Development Agreement of Rashakai Special Zone’, Imran emphasised that the Rashakai zone would play an important role in the economic development not only of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) but of the entire country.
“Our next phase is industrialisation. During the 1960s, the nationalisation drive had affected the country’s economy and exports. Our next way leads to industrialisation,” the prime minister told the ceremony, after witnessing the signing of the agreement.
Rashakai will be second special economic zone after Faisalabad under CPEC. Imran said that out of four industrial zones to be set up under CPEC, Rashakai was prioritised to encourage growth of industries and spur jobs for the local people at their doorsteps.
“We want the people in K-P get jobs. The people of the tribal areas have made the greatest sacrifices against terrorism. Completion of this project will create development opportunities for them also,” Imran said.
He said often, the people of K-P went to other parts of the country for getting jobs and it was difficult phase for leaving behind a family and eke out. “My government’s interest is definitely to provide job opportunities to the locals at their doorsteps,” he added.
In this regard, the prime minister stressed that China’s experience and expertise would be utilised, pointing out that Chinese industry wanted to relocate and Pakistan offered “very attractive environment with complete incentives”.
Referring to the strategic location of Pakistan in the regional connectivity with the Central Asian countries, he welcomed the commencement of intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha, and said Pakistan had played a vital role in the Afghan peace talks.
“If there is peace, it will lead to achievement of wider regional connectivity upto Central Asia,” he said, adding the deputy prime minister of Uzbekistan recently visited Pakistan and they were keen for a railway line from Mazar Sharif to Peshawar.
Besides, the prime minister said, the Main Line (ML)-1 railway project would be completed in Pakistan under CPEC. “Completion of this project will revolutionise the communication sector and give Pakistan a chance to reap the benefits of its strategic location,” he added.
“The ML-1 will prove vital to the regional connectivity, reducing travel distance between different cities of the country manifold. It will also enhance cargo activities, ease of doing and cost of doing business,” he added.
Such a strategic location of Pakistan, the prime minister continued, would prove beneficial for the trade and business activities and especially the K-P , which had been on the frontline in the war agaisnt terrorism and rendered immense sacrifices.
K-P Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, Adviser to Prime Minister on Trade Razak Dawood, Chairman CPEC Authority Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan were also present on the occasion.
WITH INPUT FROM APP