CPEC a good strategic option: Ishrat Hussain


KARACHI: Former president of the State Bank of Pakistan Dr Ishrat Hussain said on Wednesday that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a good strategic option for progress.

Delivering a talk on "Economy of Pakistan; past and future" at a day-long seminar on Interplay of Economy and Security, he discussed three possible scenarios: optimistic, pessimistic and emerging through.

He also highlighted the wastage of civil resources. "Anything new is glamorous and attractive but because of poor maintenance and indifference, operation of existing policies bring lots of losses in the country," he said.

The seminar has been organised by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), in collaboration with Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

An ISPR statement said Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa will be the keynote speaker at the event.

The seminar was earlier scheduled on 31 August but postponed due to weather hazard, according to the ISPR.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, in his talk, said that crafting a new narrative is the way forward.

He further said that we need a collective approach and that there should be zero tolerance for corruption.

Dr Ashfaq Hassan while speaking about the CPEC said that leadership, policy and reforms will determine the benefits Pakistan will reap from the plan. Hassan said that China wants to relocate its industries in Pakistan, according to ISPR.

In his address, Dr Hassan said that the details of the CPEC should be shared with the public and the stake holders.

While dismissing general suspicions that China is likely to become the East India Company and the project passing through disputed territory, Hassan said described the history of Karakoram Highway and Mangla Dam.

Dr Farrukh Saleem also addressed the participants and discussed threats to economic security in the context of national security, said the ISPR.

Dr Saleem also utilised the aid of data in his address to elaborate things, saying that Pakistan needs to focus on economic growth while making the most of economic security.

Chairman Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Zubair Tufail said that Pakistan needs to follow the steps of China in order to become economically stronger.

He said that Pakistan needs to allow third world countries for investment and should ask China to open more markets for Pakistan. Tufail also lauded role of the army and Rangers for eliminating terrorism across the country.

Dr Ainul Hassan in his address spoke about Asia’s transition into the 21st century and compared Pakistan’s economy with the rest of the Asian countries.

He said that social sector investment is a long-term and continuous proposition.

Economist Dr Salman Shah, talking about the importance of CPEC and making Pakistan a global powerhouse, said that an economic corridor generally connects regional economic centres in the most efficient and convenient manner.

He said that the 'software' of CPEC is more important than its 'hardware'. "China is now the world's largest economy and can be a big source of investment capital, technology and know-how for Pakistan's economic progress," he added.

We need to learn from China about how to manage and maintain the economy, he said further, adding that CPEC creates economic and trade connectivity within Pakistan.

Frontier Works Organization (FWO) DG Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal highlighted the geo-strategic and geo-economic significance of CPEC and Gwadar Port, which is the cornerstone of the whole concept.

He said that Pakistan is blessed with precious minerals and coal resources and must exploit this potential.

The FWO chief said for the first time the Khunjrab Pass was kept open last winter to keep CPEC functional.

He said FWO, in collaboration with Pakistan Railways, will improve the railways infrastructure most important among them is the dedicated freight corridor along ML-2.

The FWO is also planning to build an oil refinery in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in collaboration with the provincial government.

A project for cement manufacturing plant of 5,000 mega tonnes per day is also being planned.

ISPR DG Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor gave the welcome address at the seminar.