QUETTA: Chinese investors need to spell out how exactly Pakistan will benefit from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said political and military leaders at a seminar on Monday. They also stressed that the CPEC should not be politicised or made controversial.

The matter was taken up on the second day of a seminar on peace and prosperity in Balochistan organised by the non-governmental orga­ni­sation, Devote Baloch­is­tan, and the University of Balochistan in cooperation with the provincial government.

Participants claimed that CPEC would be a game-changer for the country and would play an important role in the development of the province and Pakistan.

They said law and order in the province had improved but more efforts should be made to ensure that this improvement was permanent. Peace, they said, would create an investment-friendly environment in the province.

The seminar was attended by the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, federal ministers retired Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch and Jam Kamal Khan, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Aamir Riaz, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Shafqat Mehmood and Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind, vice chancellors of the country’s leading universities, journalists and writers.

Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed and former chief minister Dr Malik Baloch are expected to attend the seminar on Tuesday.

Chief Minister Zehri said the country’s future was linked to a developed and prosperous Balochistan.

“Pakistan and Balochistan are essential for each other,” he said. “Balochistan is nothing without Pakistan. We started the journey of development together when our forefathers joined Pakistan.”

He offered to hold a dialogue with Baloch leaders living abroad. “They should return to Pakistan and join mainstream politics to serve the interest of their people,” he said, adding that his government was ready to resolve all issues.

Talking about the CPEC, the chief minister said the people of the country would benefit massively from the project.

“The entire world is engaged in an economic war. China also is boosting its economy. Their leaders are trying to ensure that their country is economically sound and they have succeeded in achieving their goals.”

According to Lt Gen Riaz, it is important to forget mistakes of the past for the country’s prosperity and development.

He said the Balochistan issue was complicated but “we have to resolve it by sitting together”.

“The issues and problems of Balochistan can be resolved by adopting a positive approach and mutual understanding,” he said.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2016

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