KARACHI, April 24, 2018: Speaking at the concluding session of the CPEC Summit 2018 held in Karachi, Senate Opposition Leader, Senator Sherry Rehman lauded the Belt and Road Initiative and called for more countries to join the enterprise. “We believe that CPEC will create a new engine for reinvigorating innovation and ingenuity not just for Pakistan and China but for the region as well. It is this cooperation, innovation and ingenuity that will drive the project of peace in a divided world,” said Rehman.
The Vice-President of PPPP said, “A major part of its success is powered by the groundwork and foundation PPP’s government provided. President Zardari’s vision was based on a grand idea for pivoting to the East at a time when the rest of the world was still busy calling on other capitals. PPP understood the grand Chinese dream well. Providing state support and strategic access to our warm waters was part of the vision. We knew that Chinese development stewardship for Gwador Port was pivotal to the CPEC becoming a reality. Without Gwadar, there is no CPEC”.
Rehman highlighted the importance of social responsibility parallel to the progress of CPEC. “We have a long way to go, in providing safe drinking water and schools to the people of Gwadar, but I am glad to see that social responsibility and signature projects are beginning to complement each other,” she said.
“Pakistan is not equivocal about its relationship with China. Transparency and equitability are the foundations for which an initiative with a scale as grand as CPEC must be built on”.
The Senator also urged for the Chinese to double their interest and investment in social development.
Rehman added, “Everywhere there is an industrial park or SEZ, a port or energy project, there should be a groundswell of children going to schools, functioning health care units and waste-to-energy plants”.
The Senate Opposition Leader reiterated, “CPEC is not a one-party or one province ambition. It is a national project that goes beyond infrastructural development and we will stand by all efforts to create consensus and operationalize this grand ambition. Consensus-building among political parties and provinces is crucial as the windfall from this venture can change the game for Pakistan”.
The Senator also warned of the challenges that come with CPEC, saying, “Pakistan is not equivocal about its relationship with China. Transparency and equitability are the foundations for which an initiative with a scale as grand as CPEC must be built on”.
Rehman emphasised the importance of job generation especially for the youth, “Pakistan is a powerhouse of opportunities and CPEC has already created 60,000 jobs which has given renewed hope to the youth of Pakistan. As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution with China at its helm, we hope that Pakistanis would be able to capitalize on this new job market”.
Rehman also called for more cooperation on environmental protection, saying, “The enormous industrial investments and projects that will come with CPEC can be amplified if we prioritise creating a clean energy economy. We must resolve to move towards eco-friendly, sustainable and renewable energy sources.”
The Senator ended her speech with a message of unity and cooperation, “If there is one thing that Pakistanis agree on, it is CPEC’s vision of human security, economic cooperation, reform and joint prosperity,” Rehman concluded.