A Seminar on CPEC-Prospects, Challenges and Way Forward was organized by National Institute of Management, Karachi on 16th November, 2017. The seminar was jointly chaired by Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman Parliamentary Committee on CPEC and Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Minister for Information, Government of Sindh, whereas, Dr. Kaiser Bengali, Maj Gen. ® Zahir Shah, Advisor Infrastructure Development & CPEC in Punjab P&D Board, Mr. Wang Yu, Chinese Counsel General at Karachi, Mr. Zahid Ullah Shinwari, President, Peshawar Chamber of Commerce & Industries, Mr. Mehmood Nawaz Shah, Vice President Sindh Abadgar Board, Hyderabad, and Mr. Babu Gulab, Chairman District Council, Gawadar were other speakers during the seminar.
During the seminar, while welcoming the speakers and the participants, Director General, National Institute of Management, Karachi, Mr. Roshan Ali Shaikh highlighted the strategic importance of CPEC and emphasized upon synergizing local resources to get maximum benefits out the investment. Special emphasis was given to the views and concerns, if any, of all stakeholders/provinces who shared their views, grievances and expectations from CPEC. Opportunities for the industrialists, agriculturists, small business owners, tax and toll regime under CPEC, and the participation of all provinces, including Gilgit Baltistan in the affairs of CPEC and projects therein, were main subjects that were discussed during the seminar.
Dr. Kaiser Bengali shared his views about non availability of any feasibility of CPEC projects, and the secrecy being maintained in sharing detailed information about various projects under CPEC. Mr. Baboo Gulab, Chairman Gwadar District Council represented people of Gwadar and laid emphasis upon inclusion of local people in development of Gwadar and therefore the need to improve their capacity. Mr. Zahid Ullah Shinwari, President, Peshawar Chamber highlighted the need for more projects for KPK under CPEC, whereas, Mr. Mehmood Nawaz Shah laid emphasis on initiation of projects under CPEC that focus on tapping the agricultural potential of Pakistan and capitalizing on the strengths of Chinese firms to increase agricultural exports of Pakistan.
While delivering his speech, Syed Nasir Shah, Minister for Information, Government of Sindh stressed on addressing many misconceptions regarding the project. More importantly, he stressed that we should understand the forces like India and its allies that cast adverse picture of CPEC for Pakistan. He also shared that many projects of Sindh province have been included in CPEC e.g. Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), Dhabeji Economic Zone, Keti Bandar Project etc. He also stated that apprehensions of local people of all the provinces should be addressed during this project.
The chief guest Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman Parliamentary Committee on CPEC shared that we need to understand the context before understanding CPEC. He emphasized that CPEC project should be viewed and taken up above personal, provincial or parochial lines and interests because it is the best, rather only, available option for rapid development of Pakistan.
In the end, DG NIM, Mr. Roshan Ali Shaikh concluded the seminar by stating that CPEC is bound to bring prosperity for Pakistan. However, it is not devoid of challenges and concerns, which can be addressed by mutual cooperation and understanding. So efforts must be made to maximize gains, forging partnerships and establishing collaborative mechanism to get the maximum benefit out of CPEC.