en.ppostnews.com: Lahore, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that initiatives like OBOR and CPEC that aim to end poverty of over 800 million people through shared prosperity should be welcomed and not rejected by a developed country like the US.
He said that ill-founded opposition aimed at creating uncertainty about the grand project was no service to the global peace and development. He said that poverty, inequality and underdevelopment were shared challenges of the whole South Asia, adding that OBOR and CPEC promise to address these questions by creating a community of shared prosperity. He said that it was important to avoid raising doubts about these global initiatives that seek empowerment of the people.
Highlighting the significance of the OBOR initiative, Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif recalled the Chinese president’s reiteration at the recent OBOR summit that OBOR aims at harmonious coexistence without any geopolitical agenda. “It is highly unfair to label OBOR as isolationist or with any peculiar agenda and global powers should encourage its development by resolving any regional disputes in its way,” he opined.
The chief minister dismissed the US defence secretary’s apprehensions about OBOR and CPEC and termed these initiatives of China to share knowledge, resources and prosperity with 65 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa as “highly commendable”.
Shehbaz Sharif explained that ever since the launch of OBOR, the total trade between China and other Belt and Road countries during 2014-2016 had exceeded US$3 trillion, Chinese investments in OBOR countries had exceeded USD 50 billion and China’s total investment under OBOR initiative is envisaged at over USD 1 trillion. He said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project (CPEC) alone was worth over USD 60 billion and was estimated to exceed USD 100 billion. “Already around 2000 MW under CPEC have been added to the national grid in Pakistan and a total of 19 projects are at different stages of speedy completion including the modern mass transit train system called the Orange Line” he explained.
The CM Punjab further said that OBOR was now a global reality that was well and truly underway with formal cooperation between over 100 countries and international organizations, which attended the OBOR summit this year including the USA. He said that important resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly and Security Council contain reference to OBOR and the Chinese President in his OBOR summit speech this year had held that OBOR was open to all countries and had invited countries from Asia, Europe and Americas to participate in it.
“This global initiative aimed at economic uplift of all countries should be applauded and facilitated rather than criticized and rejected,” he urged.
The chief minister said that the people of Pakistan and all elements of national opinion had complete and unwavering consensus on the CPEC being a game-changer for Pakistan’s economy and polity. He said that the whole nation was ready to foil any conspiracy against this project of vital significance with the power of unity.
Meanwhile, Shehbaz Sharif visited the camp office of Frontier Works Organization (FWO) at Kamahan and inspected the progress being made on the project of Lahore Ring Road Southern Loop, today. He also met with Director General FWO Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal and presided over a high-level meeting at the camp office.
The FWO DG along with other high officials, commissioner and Lahore DC and other officers were also present on the occasion.
Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said that Punjab government was working on different projects of providing latest transport facilities to the masses with a cost of billions of rupees and added that a comprehensive programme was being implemented to provide best of the best transport facilities to the people. The southern loop project is an important progress in this regard, he added. The FWO is speedily working on Ring Road Southern Loop. He observed that improvement in transport means promote socio-economic activities and the completion of this project will also boost such activities along with the provision of latest transport facilities to the people. He said speed and quality of the construction work is the best and added that horticulture should be promoted on both sides of the road and modern technology be utilized for the signboards to be fixed for the benefit of the people. He said the completion of 22.4 km long southern loop will facilitate the people and the traffic system will also be sufficiently improved.