Seminar on the ‘Role of Parliament in Promoting Investment, Trade, Export, Commerce and Connectivity under CPEC.
Wednesday, 22nd December, 2021
Islamabad December 22, 2021: The seminar on the ‘Role of Parliament in Promoting Investment, Trade, Export, Commerce and Connectivity under CPEC’ was held at Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services organized by National Assembly of Pakistan in collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). Hon. Asad Qaiser, Speaker National Assembly graced the event as Chief Guest, while Asad Umar Federal Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives, Sher Ali Arbab Chairman Parliamentary Committee on CPEC and Dr. Jochen Hippler Country head Friedrich Ebert Stiftung were the guest speakers.
Mr. Asad Qaiser, Speaker National Assembly said CPEC project is a fortune for Pakistan that will add to rebuilding the economy of the country. He added that active and meaningful involvement by Pakistani provinces in CPEC will be central to its effectiveness. With improved connectivity between the vast regions of Western China and Central Asia to the Arabian Sea, immense economic opportunities lie for various industrial clusters close to the CPEC routes. The initiative further enhances Pakistan’s position as a strong regional stakeholder by engaging with a number of countries for bilateral trade, industrial and economic development through high impact projects in various fields like energy, infrastructure, industry and tourism to name a few added by the Speaker National Assembly.
Mr. Asad Umar Federal Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives appreciated the CPEC committee initiative to visit various regions in Pakistan and engage with local populations. He added that the government was also visiting various parts of the country during the planning of CPEC projects and it is interesting that the CPEC committee is visiting various places and engaging with public on this mega project. He said that the committees in the parliament are working beyond the party line and work in the national interest, CPEC committee is one of them having a representation from various parties working together to oversight the CPEC projects and give recommendations. CPEC being the flagship project of ‘Belt and Road initiative’, it will not only benefit Pakistan and China at the national and regional levels but will also offer opportunities for sub-national collaboration between different regions/provinces of both the countries through sharing of development experience, transfer of technology and industrial/infrastructure collaboration added by Asad Umar. He said that Joint Working Group (JWG) has also been made on agriculture and technology as well to work together with the Chinese government in this regard.
Sher Ali Arbab, Chairman Parliamentary Committee on CPEC gave a brief presentation on the recommendations drawn during the regional seminars in Peshawar, Karachi, Gwadar, Lahore, Gilgit Baltistan, AJ&K and Quetta. He added that with Pakistan decisively turning a page in its history by overcoming challenges of security and energy shortages, and now strongly heading towards achieving the goal of a highly developed economy, duly supported by well-planned industrialization which is harmonized to best utilize its natural endowments and human capital, its relationship with other countries plays an important role in its growth and stability. In this regard, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a model framework of regional connectivity and a substantial step towards economic cooperation between two brotherly nations in a highly interdependent and globalized world.
Dr. Jochen Hippler highlighted the role of FES for Democracy and Governance, Regional Connectivity, Social Justice and Economy. He added that the CPEC committee and especially the Chairman is playing a wonderful role in pushing the regional connectivity project and the comprehensive exercise undertaken in four provinces and two regions was a good idea to engage with civil society and stakeholders at local level.
The event was also attended by Mr. Ihsan Iqbal MNA, Ms. Mehnaz Akbar Aziz MNA, Ms. Nafeesa Inayat Ullah Khattak MNA, academia, experts, senior government officials, media representatives and civil society. Mr. Hamayun Khan from FES and stage secretary said that FES would like to continue its work with the CPEC committee and other initiatives are under consideration for the next year.