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HYDERABAD: Discussing benefits of the China-Pakistan Econo­mic Corridor (CPEC), speakers on Thursday, the concluding day of a three-day conference, said the corridor would equally benefit Pakistan and China, which would develop their undeveloped provinces of Balochistan and Xinjiang respectively.

Addressing the concluding session of the international conference on the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Political, Economic and Social Perspectives” organised by the Sindh University (SU), they observed that this project would not only lead to prosperity, but also strengthen the economic ties between the two nations.

Addressing the session, Vice Chan­cellor Prof Dr Fateh Moham­mad Burfat said the conference remained successful and it had achieved its objectives as was evident from research and valuable inputs of scholars. He said the SU was focusing on CPEC and producing skilled graduates to accommodate them in the related projects.

“If academic environment in varsities is enabling, it will bring about a change in the attitude of students and take them to the heights of academic and research activities,” he said. He said federal minister for planning and development Ahsan Iqbal on the first day of the conference had promised that he would get mega projects for Sindh University’s development and progress.

Earlier, presenting his research, Dr Shabbir Ahmed Khan of the Area Study Centre, Peshawar University, said CPEC was an important component of China’s version of One Belt One Road (Obor) initiative aimed at filling infrastructure gap across Asia through roads’ network, highways, rail links, energy pipelines and seaports by spending around $600 billion to link Asia, Africa and other European countries. He said that Chinese aim was access to Europe by the land route as well as maritime routes.

“China believes relations with emerging powers are important,” he said and added that Obor would eventually provide China with overland and maritime access to Europe.

He said: “CPEC would benefit both countries because China and Pakistan intend to develop their underdeveloped areas of Balochistan and Xinjiang.”

Another scholar, Mariyam Sid­dique, said CPEC would bring peace and prosperity and mark an era of affluence as both countries would strengthen economic ties.

“After 2008 financial crises, China had a chance to rebalance its economy and made a shift in economic strategy to move towards ‘new normal’ to transform economy for suitable growth,” she maintained. She said CPEC would be a beneficial tool of China for practical implementation of its dream.

Others who spoke on the occasion were Dr Ravichandran Moo­rthy, Ross Masood Hussain, Dr Mus­sarat Jabeen, Dr Ngeow Chow Bing, Dr Chih-yu Shih, Dr Zhao Zhi­hui and Dr Hamadullah Kakepoto.

Later, the VC gave away shields to scholars and conference’s organising committee members.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2017