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Pakistan’s new government prioritize links with China

By Abdul Wajid Khan (People's Daily Online)    09:10, September 05, 2018

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Following the recent general election, Pakistan’s nascent democratic system has entered into a new era, as its third democratically elected government takes charge.

The country's new Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has succeeded in breaking the country's political status quo, forming his government after struggling to do so for 22 years. He marked the beginning of a new political era in Pakistan's history by implementing his first 100-days agenda.

In his first address of the nation, a day after assuming office, Khan vowed to transform Pakistan into a true Islamic welfare state with the focus on overcoming foreign debt, austerity, institutional reform, eradication of corruption and retrieving money stashed abroad.

Prime Minister Khan has formed an Economic Advisory Council containing leading business and economic experts, to better manage the country's economy. He has promised to create 10 million jobs by boosting the economy and will construct five million new homes for the people.

Although the country's general and economic situation vastly improved during the previous government’s tenure, the current government still faces a myriad of challenges including an ailing economy, terrorism and extremism, poverty, unemployment and water shortages. The new Prime Minister is also likely to face tough opposition in the coming months, with major political parties set to protest against the alleged rigging in general elections. These opposition parties have jointly demanded to form a parliamentary commission to audit elections.

As for the bilateral relations between Pakistan and China, Khan has reiterated his wishes to further strengthen ties.

After the party's victory in the 2018 General Election, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) Twitter account sent out its first message in Chinese to emphasize the close relationship between Pakistan and China. In the tweet, the PTI chief said that he would work to strengthen and improve Pakistan’s relationship with China.

In his victory speech after the 2018 General Election, Khan noted that his government would explore investment opportunities under the umbrella of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is considered a vital plank of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and would also learn from them in regards to poverty alleviation and corruption control.

In its manifesto, the ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, declared that its government will make Pakistan business-friendly and turn the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor into a game-changer by enhancing bilateral relations.

The government is ready to take CPEC to the next level with the establishment of nine Special Economic Zones. Minister for Planning, Development & Reform, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar‏, has instructed the authorities to fast-track the processes to ensure early implementation of this important sector of CPEC.

Pakistan’s new government is not oblivious to its responsibilities regarding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and progress on CPEC projects will continue without any hindrance. The Chinese government also expects the government of Pakistan to continue with their smooth and timely implementation of CPEC projects. It is expected that in the coming weeks high level exchanges involving top level government officials from both sides will be held, to further improve relations between the two governments.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship BRI project, is the largest Chinese investment in Pakistan to date. Often termed as a game changer, the mega-project involves a huge financial inflow into Pakistan to improve infrastructure, energy and trade development as well as create job opportunities.

CPEC has already started to benefit Pakistan’s ailing economy. Due to the completion of energy projects, the country’s severe energy crisis is about to end. Massive infrastructure projects are improving connectivity and new jobs are being created, thus improving the economy.

After the establishment of industrial zones, it is believed that the process of industrialization in Pakistan will begin, further strengthening the economy of Pakistan. Successful implementation of CPEC projects will further increase the country's GDP, which is currently 5.8 percent, and bring social and economic development to the country.

The implementation of CPEC projects is sure to create win-win outcomes, bringing massive benefits for both countries and the region in the future.

The author is a researcher and journalist working for Independent News Pakistan. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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