Pakistan shifts focus from geopolitics to geoeconomics: Qureshi

Web DeskWeb Editor

07th Jul, 2021. 03:16 pm
Geopolitics to geoeconomics

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has shifted its focus from geopolitics to geo-economics and the government sought to transform the country into a progressive and an economically vibrant state through development partnerships, connectivity and regional peace.

Addressing the opening session of the high-level conference on “Pakistan-China at 70: A unique bilateral partnership”, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that as the flagship project of the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative), China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) complements our geo-economic priorities with emphasis on the economic integration and regional connectivity.

In the first phase, CPEC has helped Pakistan in infrastructure development and address the essential energy needs for the economic growth and development, he added.

In its second phase, Pakistan’s focus is on industrialisation, agriculture cooperation, socioeconomic development and job creation, the foreign minister said, adding that the tremendous progress made in CPEC projects signals the shared commitment of Pakistan and China.

In a short span of time, 19 projects have been completed, 28 are under construction, while 41 are in the pipeline. Over the last seven years, CPEC power projects have created more than 26,000 jobs. In addition, CPEC motorway projects have created over 50,000 jobs, he added.

Qureshi said despite Covid-19, CPEC has entered the new phase of high quality development. “We will continue to firmly advance CPEC, ensuring timely completion of the projects under construction, and focus on economic and social development.”

“We have prioritised three Special Economic Zones in the second phase of CPEC. The groundbreaking of Rashakai SEZ was held on May 28, 2021. We welcome businessmen and entrepreneurs from all countries to benefit from our investment-friendly regime and reap economic dividends from these SEZs,” the foreign minister said.

Pakistan offers pivotal geo-economic location, regional connectivity, a huge consumer market with an expanding middle class, and a large segment of skilled, vibrant, and youthful population to its valued investors.

“Our future vision is to combine infrastructure, knowledge, digital, health and green corridors to make CPEC a “People’s Corridor of Prosperity and Progress”, he added.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said that one of the most significant and promising aspects of Pakistan’s bilateral relations is the increasing people-to-people contacts. Currently, there are more than 30,000 Pakistani students benefiting from the advanced educational system of China.

“We have established 14 Sister-City and seven Sister-Province relations to further enhance our bilateral ties. Eleven Urdu Language Departments, seven Pakistan Study Centres in various Chinese Universities and five Confucius Institutes in Pakistan are imparting cultural understanding between the two countries,” he added.

The 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations is a very special occasion. This is the time to celebrate and renew the resolve to build upon the achievements of the last seven decades. To celebrate this landmark year, the two countries have planned a series of activities throughout the year.
This conference aptly titled “Pakistan-China at 70: A Unique Bilateral Partnership” is a part of the 70th Anniversary celebrations.

“Pakistan-China friendship is rooted deeply in the hearts and minds of the people of the two countries. We have the finest tradition of standing by each other through difficult times. In line with this tradition, our cooperation against COVID-19 pandemic remained exemplary,” the foreign minister said, adding that after the outbreak of Covid-19, Pakistan immediately dispatched essential medical supplies to China for its fight against the pandemic.

President Dr Arif Alvi travelled to Beijing at the peak of the pandemic to express solidarity with China in its efforts to contain the pandemic.

In the global fight against Covid-19, Pakistan supported China’s initiatives both at regional and global fora, including President Xi’s declaration of making Covid-19 vaccine a “global public good”, he said.
Similarly, China provided Pakistan with over 60 planeloads of medical relief goods to contain the pandemic. A team of Chinese medical experts also visited Pakistan to share experience and strengthen the capacity to fight the pandemic.

The foreign minister said: “Our cooperation on Covid-19 vaccine is also exemplary. China has provided us over three-and-a-half million doses of vaccine as a gift. We are also procuring Covid-19 vaccine on a commercial basis.

The National Institute of Health in Islamabad has started local production of PakVac vaccine with the help of China. “We are grateful for China’s generous assistance and support in combating the pandemic; first with prevention materials, medical expertise and equipment, and now with making vaccines available equitably to rich and poor countries alike,” he added.

Adsense 300 x 250