Prime Minister Imran Khan made five suggestions to leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Friday while assuring Pakistan’s support for the initiative.
He suggested that the members of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) undertake joint efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. In five years we planted five billion trees in one province of Pakistan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and we have now launched a nationwide project to plant 10 billion trees, he said, urging the leaders to make it a joint, ambitious project so that we can mitigate the effects of climate change.
His second suggestion was the establishment of a BRI tourism corridor to promote people to people contact and inter-cultural understanding. Another suggestion was to establish an office of anti-corruption cooperation to tackle white collar crime, which he described as a ‘menace’.
We must also set up a poverty alleviation fund that supplements national efforts to combat poverty and malnutrition, he suggested. He advised emulating China’s “spectacular success in lifting 800 million people out of poverty in three decades”.
His fifth suggestion was to liberalise trade and investment and encourage the private sector and businesses to participate in projects.
The premier said 122 states and 49 international organisations have signed on to the BRI’s vision and this is a historic and monumental development. Pakistan is proud to have partnered with China in this transformation, he said, adding that it was one of the earlier partners in the initiative.
Substantial progress has been made in Pakistan on its BRI projects and critical infrastructure gaps are being plugged, Gwadar, once a small fishing village, is transforming into a commercial hub and more power is being generated in the country, said PM Khan. Now they want to focus on socioeconomic uplift, poverty alleviation, agricultural cooperation and industrial development. We are expanding our frontiers of knowledge through closer engagement and deeper cooperation in education, innovation and technology, he said.
He also spoke about the establishment of special economic zones that have been set up to offer opportunities for investment in Pakistan for Pakistani, Chinese and foreign investors. We will now expand the Pakistan China free trade agreement, changing Pakistan’s economic landscape and the destiny of our people, he said.
He thanked China for its unwavering support and invited the attendants of the conference to avail the liberal investment regime in Pakistan and invest in the railways, infrastructure, dams, IT and manufacturing.
Through the BRI I suggest we focus on the people of our countries and address the impediments to sustainable growth, he said.
The ocean is vast because it rejects no rivers, PM Khan said, quoting a Chinese proverb. He said Pakistan has mutual respect for China and other BRI partners and will partner with those sharing the vision of a peaceful and prosperous world.