CPEC will bring prosperity in billions of lives: Ahsan Iqbal

BEIJING: Interior minister Ahsan Iqbal has said on Friday (September 29) that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would bring prosperity in billions of lives.

The federal minister called on Chinese development and reforms chief during his China visit and hailed Pakistan-China friendship as the best in the region.

Iqbal said that CPEC provides a platform to consolidate local economies and would help Pakistan learn from China’s progress and strengthened economy. He said that the corridor has turned Pakistan-China friendship to strengthened economic partnership.

He asserted that law and order situation was bettering in Pakistan owing to government’s efforts. The minister said that a security force comprising of 15,000 personnel was formed to safeguard the corridor.

Ahsan Iqbal called for joint regional cooperation to counter terrorism and build a stable environment for development.

“All countries have to work together to promote stability and peace in the region,” Ahsan Iqbal said during an exclusive interview with the Global Times published today. “If one part of the region is insecure, it has the potential to destabilize the whole region.”

Pakistan has often come under fire from the Western media as a “root of terrorism,” but it is also a victim rather than the one to blame.

“Our region paid a heavy price for terrorism after 9/11 with the US invasion in Afghanistan, and the whole region became instable,” he said.

He noted after the government launched major operations against those who attacked the Peshawar school and the Red Mosque, Pakistan has almost broken the back of the terrorist groups.

Ahsan Iqbal also called for a political solution to the situation in Afghanistan, as the US-led military solution has not worked in more than a decade.

“We have to engage all the regional countries because neighbors of Afghanistan have the biggest stake in its stability,” he said. “Afghanistan isn’t more stable than before 2001. We are still facing the threat from infiltration from Afghanistan to Pakistan through the western border.”

Pakistan has suffered heavily due to terrorism, which has caused the deaths of some 70,000 people in Pakistan, and more than $100 billion in economic losses, Ahsan Iqbal said.

Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative, thousands of Chinese workers are living in Pakistan, and Ahsan Iqbal labeled them as “national heroes.”

“They are working in Pakistan to help Pakistan develop, they are our national heroes,” said Iqbal, who is also the Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms. “It is our duty to provide them best security with all our means.”

He noted that Pakistan has raised the numbers of special forces to about 15,000 personnel now working full time to provide security to CPEC projects, and to Chinese who are working in Pakistan.