Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal Saturday said Pakistan would become an industrial hub of South Asia after the completion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it would play an important role in the regional economic growth through connectivity by the CPEC.
Talking to PTV, he said the CPEC would bring mega improvement in social infrastructure, energy, industrial cooperation, agriculture and many other sectors, besides creating millions of job opportunities for the youth of the country.
The minister said in 2013 when the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) came in to power, the country was facing many challenges, including terrorism, energy shortfall, and deteriorating law and order situation.
The government with its effective policies, reduced terrorist acts, overcame energy shortage and improved the law and order situation. He said some 11,500 mega watt electricity was added to the national grid during the last four years.
About $ 35 billion was being spent in the energy sector only and there was not even a single penny of loan included in it, rather it was investment under the CPEC, he added. Ahsan Iqbal said the CPEC project was launched after comprehensive consultation and consensus of the all political parties.
The government had also held an all parties conference on the matter. Some elements, he added, were trying to sabotage the CPEC, which was recognised as a game changer not only for Pakistan but for the entire region also.
Replying to a question, he said Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan would become gateways of the CPEC. Trade zones would be set up in the federal capital, all the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Federally Administered Tribal Areas, he added.
He said Chinese and Pakistani companies would make large-scale investment in the trade zones, which would not only create new jobs, but also help transfer new technology to Pakistan.