Karachi – The government should immediately make public all details of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project so that it could not be politicised.
The media should also play it role responsibly in CPEC project, otherwise, it will adversely affect Sino-Pak ties and increase distrust between the two countries.
These views were expressed by the discussants in Jang Economic Session on “CPEC should not be Politicised.” The panelists were Dr Qais Aslam, Imtiaz Cheema, Iftikarul Haq, Rana Sajjad, Mian Fazal Ahmad and Pervaiz Hanif. The event was hosted by Sikandar Lodhi.
Dr Qais Aslam said that CPEC project was a golden lake. He said Pakistan did not work for the last five years to improve the efficiency of the workers to benefit from the project while transparency in the project was required for its success. He said everyone should be taken on board on CPEC while focus should be laid on employment generation and end the concerns of local business community.
Imtiaz Cheema said the future of Pakistan’s economy was dependent on the CPEC while both countries had their economic interests in One Belt One Road project. He said Sahilwal Coal Power Plant and Orange Line Metro Train projects were not good. Revival of Lahore-Karachi railway track should be focused, he added.
He called for revisiting priorities in national interest and improving ties with China and other neighbouring countries.
Iftikarul Haq said that CPEC would improve the regional network which would not only be beneficial for China and Pakistan, but also for Iran, Afghanistan, India and Central Asian states. He said if the project was implemented and completed effectively, it would be the biggest economic project of the region. However, transparency in the project is the need of the hour, therefore, the prime minister should make public all details of the project without any further delay, he said.
He said work on a number of allied projects was not initiated under the CPEC. He called for rescheduling and renegotiating and reviewing the CPEC projects.
Rana Sajjad said that agreements between the two countries were based on economic benefits. He said the new government was focusing education, health and human resource development, and the vocational training should be started immediately to accommodate the locals in the CPEC projects.
Mian Fazal Ahmed said that CPEC was a game changer for the region and it would further strengthen decades-old Sino-Pak ties. He called for putting the CPEC on a fast track as cost of the project had increased to $62 billion from $42 due to delay.
He said the project would generate jobs when economic zones would be established. He said the China should join Pakistan in Bahsha Dam construction to increase the benefits of the CPCE.
Pervaiz Hanif said that publishing the CPEC projects documents for the public would end the negative criticism and increase its acceptance among the people.
The delay in the project completion would increase its cost, he believed and said it should be completed timely besides adopting transparency. He called for implementing the CPEC project with honesty in the interest of the country while a number of scandals attached with the project were making it controversial.