Says CPEC to give priority to less-developed provinces, particularly Western route through KP and Balochistan
Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, told a select audience of the Oxford and Cambridge Society that 36 years after the momentous events of 1979, there were signs that the region where Pakistan is located is finally settling down.
During a lecture on “Pakistan and the Changing Regional Scenario”, to a packed and distinguished audience of diplomats, scholars, policy makers and students, Senator Mushahid Hussain said that Pakistan and the region had been in the eye of storm since 1979 after the revolution in Iran and the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.
Referring to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, he said that this national project covering 15 years between 2015 – 2030, worth approximately 50 billion dollars, would be a guarantor of the future progress, prosperity and the unity of the federation of Pakistan.
He said that one of the top priorities of the newly formed Parliamentary Committee on CPEC would be to ensure that the less developed provinces like Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would benefit from the fruits of progress, starting with immediate construction of the Western route through these provinces to link Gwadar and Kashgar through a modern network of road communications.
Sayed said that the destabilization of the region had led to Pakistan being caught up in the last big battle of the 20th century, the Afghan Jehad, which ended the Cold War and led to the break-up of the Soviet Union, as well as being a frontline state of the war against terrorism after 9/11.
Citing the positive signs that the region was witnessing of late, Senator Mushahid Hussain said that operation Zarb-e-Azb which had reversed wrongs of the past and had shown a commitment and clarity of the Pakistani state, particularly the military, the government, the parliament and people of Pakistan to contain, curb and crush terrorism since that is now identified as a single biggest threat to the security of Pakistan.
He praised the valour and gallantry of the armed forces as well as the civilians who have paid the biggest price in this campaign against terrorism.
He also referred to the positive implications of the Iran nuclear deal resulting in lowering of tensions, the growing convergence between China-Pakistan-USA on Afghanistan, the improvement in Pakistan-Russia relations as well as the launch of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as indicators of strengthening of Pakistan’s position in the region which would have longer term positive implications for Pakistan.
However, he cited future challenges emerging from the aggressive brinksmanship of the Modi government in India as well as the fact that peace, security and stability were inextricably intertwined between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
During the question and answer session, Senator Mushahid Hussain said that in order for Pakistan to progress, education would have to be given the top priority both for boys and girls, adding that without a just settlement of the Kashmir issue, there could be no abiding peace and stability in South Asia.