An interesting and informative discussion titled ‘The Belt and Road Initiative: Towards a Community of Shared Future’ was held at the Sheesh Mahal, Serena Hotel on Wednesday, the 3rd of May. The event was jointly organized by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the Pakistan-China Institute, and featured Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed (Chairman Pakistan-China Institute and CPEC Parliamentary Committee) and H.E. Sun Weidong (Ambassador of China to Pakistan) as the speakers.
Senator Mushahid Hussain began the discussion by highlighting China’s unique achievement in battling poverty: in the last 35 years, over 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty. This is the biggest global transformation of human lives in history.
The Senator then shared with the audience that someone once asked him to describe the One Belt, One Road initiative in one sentence. He responded by describing it in three words: inclusiveness, connectivity and cooperation. It is inclusive in the sense that it is not directed against any country, and in fact includes various countries, cultures and continents. Secondly, it connects numerous countries of the world through rail and road links, as well as through the sea. Lastly, it aims for mutual cooperation and benefit, so that no country is left behind, and there are shared gains for all.
The Senator added that the scale of the Belt and Road initiative is monumental, as it will link 100 countries, 70 percent of the world’s population, 55 percent of the world’s GDP, and 25 percent of the world’s trade. He further added that CPEC is the flagship project of OBOR, and the city of Gwadar is in turn the centerpiece of CPEC.
The Senator stated that the balance of socio-economic power is shifting from the west to the east. The 21st century is the Asian century, in which China’s peaceful development will be a source of strength and progress – not only for Asian countries, but the world at large.
H.E. Ambassador Sun Weidong began his speech by stating that China-Pak friendship is a model of state-to-state relations, nurtured by the people of the two countries. He announced that on the 14th and 15th of May, Chinese President Xi Jinping will host the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, which will be attended by leaders from 28 countries. There will be representatives from 110 countries, with participation from 61 international organizations.
The Ambassador added that the Belt and Road initiative has injected a new momentum into the ancient Silk Road and has created a strong connection between Asia, Europe and Africa. More than 100 countries are now a part of this initiative, covering over 4.3 billion people, with a total economic output of more than 21 trillion US dollars.
The Ambassador further added that the fate of Pakistan and China has become closely linked together through the Belt and Road initiative. He thanked the people of Pakistan for their continued cooperation and efforts in supporting the Belt and Road initiative, and working towards the mutual benefit of both countries.
Senator Mushahid Hussain concluded the discussion by recalling the famous quote of the Quaid-i-Azam from 1947: “Pakistan is the pivot of the world, placed on the frontier on which the future position of the world revolves”. He pointed out that today, the vision of the Quaid is proving to be correct, because Pakistan is acting as a pivot in the connectivity of the Greater South Asia.
The discussion was highly informative for the audience and was widely attended, with a fully packed hall. Among the attendees were senators, ambassadors, members of think tanks, students, media personalities and professionals from various fields.
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