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Pakistan welcomes desire of regional countries to participate in CPEC

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ISLAMABAD, October 16 (DNA): Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said Pakistan cordially welcomes the desire of regional countries to participate in China Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC).


In an interview, he said Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, which have expressed their interest in the project, which will further augment regional connectivity and cooperation.


The Minister reiterated the Government’s stance that the project is in the best interest of the entire region.


He said CPEC is aimed at bolstering trade and economic cooperation in the whole region and is not limited to China and Pakistan.


About the reservations shown by different political groups regarding the project, Ahsan Iqbal said CPEC remains the most debated project in the parliament and all concerns raised were addressed with nothing hidden about the project.


It is pertinent to mention here that Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Dr. Omar Zakhilwal has evinced a keen interest in becoming part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), assuring stout support for the multi-billion project.


In an interview, Zakhilwal said, “The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a great project that is equally relevant to Afghanistan like Pakistan, and anything that will be good for Pakistan will be good for the entire region.”


The diplomat remarked the Afghans were “thirsty for development” and desired to see their conflict-devastated homeland prosper.


He said, “I think CPEC is not limited to Pakistan, it is for the entire region, particularly Central Asia, CPEC is very much relevant to Afghanistan and it takes much interest in the project.” Said Zakhilwal, also a former finance minister, believed Afghanistan could recover from the devastation it had suffered during decades of war by joining the project.


“Investment in the project rose to more than $51.5 billion in September when China and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed to lend $8 billion for upgrading the main railway line from Karachi to Peshawar,” he said. DNA

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