Pakistan’s premier Imran Khan addressed the participating countries of the Belt and Road Initiative to join hands by fighting climate change by planting 100 billion trees, establish tourism corridors and combat corruption.
According to The Nation, Khan during his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Second Belt and Road Initiative Forum for International Cooperation presented a five-point roadmap to focus on the participation of the countries in order to achieve sustainability.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan spoke on the theme of “Shaping a Brighter Future”, and addressed a gathering of 37 world leaders to alleviate funds to eradicate poverty and the importance of further liberalising trade and investment flows between the countries.
Over 5.000 participants from more than 150 countries will be attending the three-day meeting in Beijing. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, UK Chancellor Philip Hammond and the heads of state of the 10 ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nation) states and a low-level delegation from United States are among the attendees; while India will not be attending the forum this year.
Prime Minister Khan during his speech invited the foreign leaders and delegates to avail Pakistan’s liberal foreign investment, and urged them to focus on the infrastructure, railways, dams, information technology and manufacturing.
Addressing the climate change PM Khan stated that, “We [have also] launched a nationwide project to plant 10 billion trees. I suggest we launch a joint project to plant 100 billion trees [in all BRI states] in the next two years, so that we can mitigate the effects of climate change for our coming generations.”
Furthermore, the Prime Minister during his keynote speech also stated the necessity of tourism in the country, and that Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Tourism Corridor would promote people-to-people contact which will lead to an inter-cultural understanding.
Khan also suggested for setting up an office of Anti-Corruption Cooperation to combat white collar crimes. He also addressed the key issue of poverty by stating the importance of fighting it by creating a Poverty Alleviation Fund.
Moreover, Khan congratulated President Xi Jinping and the government of People’s Republic of China for organising the event and hoped for the BRI will transform from a vision into a reality.
“In a world of geopolitical uncertainty, of rising inequality and barriers to trade, the BRI offers a model of collaboration, partnership, connectivity and shared prosperity,” he said.
Furthermore, Khan added that, “The presence of so many world leaders today is proof that we choose hope over despair and cooperation over confrontation.”
Addressing the success of the Initiative PM Khan said that 122 states and 49 international organisations have signed on the BRI’s vision and described it as a monumental cooperation and development between all these states.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also stated about the significance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is entering in its next phase, he added, “Pakistan’s energy supplies have increased massively. Our critical infrastructure gaps are being plugged. Gwadar, once a small fishing village, is transforming rapidly into a commercial hub.” He said the Gwadar Airport will be the largest one in Pakistan.
“We are expanding the frontiers of knowledge through closer engagement and deeper cooperation in the fields of education, innovation and technology.”
He also said that the next phase of CPEC will be where both countries would sing an expended Pak-China Free Trade Agreement.
“We are changing Pakistan’s economic landscape and Insha-Allah the destiny of our people. I want to thank China and its leadership for their unwavering support for Pakistan,” Imran Khan said. “Our deep-rooted friendship, partnership and brotherhood with China remains strong, resilient and unbreakable, standing tall in the face of every challenge.”
Stating a Chinese proverb, PM Khan said that China’s awe-inspiring civilization has always given the world wisdom, harmony and prosperity. He further said that, “It has gifted to humanity, great inventions, art and aesthetics and a culture of compassion and co-existence”.
During his keynote speech PM Imran Khan said, in the beginning, the initial phase of CPEC was only mapping the routes and a few power stations, however, now it has gone further and has improved since then. He also added that the government of Pakistan is looking forward to Chinese investment in the special economic zones, which is now in the process.
“These special economic zones are part of CPEC and we are hoping the investment from China and the relocation of Chinese industries in these special economic zones,” he added.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan also addressed about the country’s strategy to establish peace and stability with its neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan and Iran. He said that peace and stability in Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan.
About Pak-Iran relations, the Prime Minister Khan said that both countries have a decent relationship and there is a mutual understanding to improve the ties.
Khan also extensively spoke about the strong Pak-China relationship and appreciated China’s support in the most difficult times.