Speakers from various countries while addressing an international conference at Punjab University have said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will not only bring prosperity and stability to the countries of the region but also improve the economic conditions of most countries of the world.

In his address, Mr Zhao Shiren said that the Belt and Road Initiative was a gift from China to the world and the biggest project of the public good. He said that the project was purely an economic, trade and investment project which would improve the economic conditions of most countries. He said that the President of China Xi Jinping wanted prosperity and peace in the world. He said that the Belt and Road Initiative would bring prosperity and stability to the countries of the region. He said that China was strengthening relations with the government and people of Pakistan at all levels. He said that CPEC was the biggest gift from China for the development of Pakistan and it was even more than a gift. He said that CPEC would create excellent opportunities for foreign direct investment in Pakistan. He said that there was a need to eradicate negative propaganda about CPEC and create national consensus.

He was addressing the inaugural function of a three-day international conference on “The Significance of the Belt and Road Initiative in Regional Connectivity” organized by Punjab University Regional Integration Center (RIC) in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy at Al-Raazi Hall here on Wednesday.

On this occasion, President All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) Sarmad Ali, Chairman Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) Prof Dr Shahid Munir, Commander Central Punjab (COMCEP) Rear Admiral Shifaat Ali Khan, President of Ankara Centre for Crisis and Policy Studies Turkiye (ANKASAM) Prof Mehmet Seyfettin Trol, former PU VC Prof Dr Muhammad Saleem Mazhar, former Chief Minister Punjab Prof Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi, CEO Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade (KPBOIT) Hassan Daud Butt, Executive Director Pakistan Research Centre for a Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF) Communication University of China (CUC) Khalid Taimur Akram, Chairman Department of History Prof Dr Mahboob Hussain, Chairperson Department of Political Science Prof Dr Iram Khalid, RIC Director Dr Fouzia Hadi Ali, faculty members, experts from 15 countries and 20 universities of Pakistan were present.

Sarmad Ali said that the people of the regional countries can be connected through media. He said that the media should play its role in eradicating negative propaganda against the Belt and Road Initiative.

Dr Shahid Munir said that CPEC was the biggest project for economic and social development of Pakistan which should be accompanied by Knowledge Technology Transfer Corridor. He said that due to cheap labor in Pakistan, China could set up industries here which could reduce transportation and production cost. He said that the establishment of a common currency would strengthen the countries of the Belt and Road Initiative economically. He said that Pakistan was rich in natural resources and coal reserves alone were worth 30 trillion dollars. He said that China could help Pakistan utilize these natural resources and sell them to the world.

Rear Admiral Shafaat Ali Khan said that the West used the sea for its expansion and occupy the world while China used it to promote economic and social relations. “We need to strengthen our narrative to counter the negative propaganda against us,” he said.

Prof Mehmet Seyfettin Trol said the Belt and Road was a project of peace and prosperity. “It’s a time of hybrids and proxy wars,” he said, adding the Belt and Road Initiative could boost ties among Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and other countries. He said that Turkey would always stand by Pakistan and would never leave it alone.

Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi said that it was the era of multiple powers instead of one super power. He said that China was focusing on promoting economic ties instead of military ties. He said that China’s plan would strengthen various countries of the world economically. He said that there was a need to create awareness about the benefits of Belt and Road Initiative. He said that the CPEC project must be completed as soon as possible.

Presenting a model of regional cooperation, Hassan Daud Butt said that Pakistan could not miss this initiative. He said that now Asian countries were in a position to make economic decisions in the world. He said that Pakistan needed to improve its human resource capabilities. “Now there is a need to promote glocalization,” he said.

Dr Muhammad Saleem Mazhar said that besides economic corridors, language, literature and cultural corridors should also be established so that the nations of the region could interact with each other. He said that the universities could play an important role in creating peace, love and harmony. He said China always gave respect to other nations and had not fired a single bullet in last 35 years.

Khalid Taimur Akram said that China was playing an important role in promoting regional cooperation. He said that the Belt and Road Initiative would play important role for development and a better future of Pakistan. He appreciated the role of Prof Dr Muhammad Saleem Mazhar and RIC Director Dr Fauzia Hadi Ali for playing an effective role in promotion of cooperation among the regional countries.

Later, souvenirs were presented to the distinguished guests. The conference will continue till Friday.

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Author

Arsalan Haider is a reporter at Academia Mag and has worked with leading national dailies and news channels. He tweets @arsalanhaider14

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