Seminar on CPEC held at SZABIST

Islamabad:April 30:SZABIST Social Sciences Society and the student council organised a seminar on CPEC to discuss its strategic importance and its impact on the socioeconomic growth in Pakistan. SZABIST Social Sciences Society, spearheaded by the enthusiastic students of Department of Social Sciences, Sayed Arif Hussain Shah (chairman), Beenish Zehra (vice chairman), Navroz Shah (general secretary), Afraz Shah, Chaudary Faisal (dramatics head), Nayab Zahra, the host for the show and Aurangzaib Kakar (Student Council Security head). Among the highly qualified panellists, Usman Masood (M.Sc. Political economy and development, LSE) opened the floor by presenting CPEC’s background and examining the essential projects involved in it. Syed Khurshid Shah (leader of the Opposition, PPP) took the discussion further by pointing out the vital matters of concern like the controversy of the Western route which the government allegedly changed to a different and less beneficial one. The western route according to Mr. Khurshid Shah will help in the uplift of the deprived areas. He also said that in his view the $46 loan is hundred percent loan that has to be repaid sooner or later. Failure to do so might threaten the political independence of Pakistan. He stressed that the money allotted for coal - powered energy project was immense and also highly detrimental for the environment. Instead, Hydel power could prove cheaper and safer. ‘A practical approach towards CPEC with priorities set on the Western route and Industrial Economic Zones instead of the Orange train is vital for this project to be successful,’ he concluded. Qamar Cheema (Defence Analyst) brought attention to the fact that social indicators of South Asian countries are very bad especially in Pakistan. This was most notably seen in the case of electricity load shedding which has made it a terrible climate for industries, many of which are shifting their base of operations abroad. There is no question that the Pak-China Economic Corridor is the best initiative for bringing about a new era of sustainable economic development. Not only would the Corridor deepen the links between China and Pakistan but it would also create up to 700,000 jobs which could help pull the country’s economy out of stagnation, he said. Saleem Safi (journalist) focused on the political aspect of this initiative, speaking about the controversies circulating it and stated that it brings benefit to both parties involved. It would save China several thousand miles of distance in their transport of goods and allow them to quick and easy import of the necessary raw materials. Pakistan chief benefit would come from the utilization of the strategically significant Gwadar Port that has the potential to be developed into a full-fledged regional hub and a trans-shipment port in the future. He emphasised that anyone who was against the Pak-China Economic Corridor Initiative or posed a hindrance to its fruition was not a true Pakistani. Dr. Muhammad Farooq Sattar (parliamentary leader, MQM) rejuvenated the audience with his great poetry skills and thorough criticism on the failure of the government to consult and ratify policies with the opposition before declaring them as national policies. He said Pakistan needs to ensure participatory democracy for which national policies need to be made, implemented, owned and monitored by a joint common national leadership. According to him, this is what Pakistan lacks. He specified that CPEC is not a national programme in his opinion as it serves the vested interests of a few members of the ruling elite. Despite being a federation, there’s no representation of provinces in any forum nor is there any solid consultation and inclusion of them. The seminar was organised under Social Sciences Society and the seminar concluded with the closing remarks from the Head of Campus, Khusro Pervaiz.The news.