CPEC proposed by Zardari in 2013, Chinese Envoy

Islamabad Politics Report/Moazzam Raza Tabassam: Deputy Chief Mission of Chinese Embassy, Lijian Zhao on Monday said that the success of the all China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects are based on transparency to minimise corruption.

Addressing a seminar titled CPEC & Role of Media – Separating Facts from Misconceptions, Zhao said the idea of CPEC was initiated by former President Asif Ali Zardari in 2013 and he introduced the prime minister in waiting of that time to Premier Li to discuss the idea of CPEC.

“The CPEC is a national project of Pakistan and it is a part of One Belt One Road initiative,” Zhao said.

Dismissing rumours that Chinese prisoners were working in various CPEC projects in Pakistan, Zhao said this project contributes in promoting Pakistan-China connectivity and will support and strengthen the relationship.

While talking about the principle guidelines, he said the foremost thing was scientific planning, after which a step by step implementation is required. He said consensus has been built through consultation which will eventually give multiple benefits resulting in a win-win situation, while insurance of quality and safety is another aspect, he added.

“The government’s guidance and operation will be required on every stage,” he said.

Other speakers at the event included Dr Ishrat Husain, former Governor State Bank of Pakistan, and Ikram Sehgal, member World Economic Forum, both of whom highlighted the importance of CPEC. When asked if lack of transparency and corruption in Pakistan could hit the CPEC projects too. Sehgal, however, replied that it depends on the outcome of July elections.

Information Minister Barrister Ali Zafar addressing on the occasion recalled that first airline that landed in China from non-communist countries was that of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). When all the countries were opposing as the world was divided into eastern and western blocks, Pakistan began a friendship with China.

He said, “Whenever we have a problem or issue, we first think of China as a friend. China always supported Pakistan in its hour of need.”

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the project of economic cooperation and an example of friendship of two countries, he concluded.

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