CPEC a rare window of opportunity for Pakistan: Khalid Masood

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 29 (Gwadar Pro) – “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a rare window of opportunity for Pakistan to enter an era of progress and technological change. It is a catalyst for development but it is not a panacea for all of our problems, we will have to work double the speed to reap its real benefits,” noted Khalid Masood, a former Ambassador of Pakistan to Iran, Iraq, China, Saudi Arabia and Mongolia, while addressing the online seminar “CPEC and the Education Sector” held to highlight the role of academia during the second phase of CPEC.

Khalid Masood, the longest serving ambassador of Pakistan to China (2013-19), said that CPEC would be a game changer if it is used as a vehicle by Pakistan to become self-reliant and do value upgradation of its outdated system. “We have to change our mindset, we cannot just depend on China, which is helping us according to its capacity but we will have to work hard to reap the real benefits of CPEC,” he said.

The former Ambassador said that China lifted nearly 800 million people out of poverty, which is a miracle of history, and it has eliminated illiteracy and now an acknowledged economy, in fact surpassing even the US in certain technological fields.

“Through CPEC we improve our development deficit by studying China’s best practices, and applying them in accordance with our national conditions,” he said and added that more focus should be diverted to academic exchanges, seminars, workshops but serious approaches are required.

“The Chinese people are serious, hardworking, intelligent; they want a serious approach, not rhetoric and only speeches,” Khalid Masood said and added that Pakistanis can study Chinese models and various dimensions of Chinese developments, which will benefit the former’s policy planners and academia.

Khalid Masood added that during the second phase, the scope of CPEC has been extended to education, science and technology, agriculture, tourism, health and socio-economic projects. He said that Pakistanis are fortunate that China is ready to help them in the above-mentioned fields as they would benefit from its experience in education, S&T, and IT etc.

According to him, nearly 28,000 Pakistani students are in China with five to six thousand doing their PhDs and postdoctoral studies in very specialized fields, which are needed by Pakistan. “If Pakistan wants to become a knowledge-economy, these students are reservoirs of knowledge for Pakistan, which is coming up and which can play an important role in not only promoting education and skill development in Pakistan but also contributing to specific projects under CPEC,” Khalid Masood said.

He said that Pakistanis students during their five to six years of studies are learning Chinese culture and language, so they will be of great help to the Government of Pakistan in implementing certain projects under CPEC. Pakistani students who have studied various models of Chinese agriculture, education, science and technology, can constitute specialized study groups, which can examine and study to evaluate how Pakistan can benefit from China in these fields. “If we want to eliminate illiteracy and to emerge as a modern country and to create jobs for our people, a robust educational and industrial base is essential for these achievements,” the former ambassador said.

Khalid Masood said that during the last four to five years, educational cooperation between China and Pakistan has increased and several universities of Pakistan have established Chinese study centers with their Chinese counterparts. Urdu and Chinese languages are taught in Chinese and Pakistani institutions. According to him, Pakistanis received the highest number of scholarships and China was willing to help Pakistan in vocational institutions, imparting technologies and development in agriculture.

“More importantly their small and medium enterprises are looking to Pakistan’s vast market potential; if we provide them with environment and security, they are prepared to come and bring capital and technologies that will help skill developments in Pakistan,” he said.

He said that CPEC can help not only change the economic landscape of Pakistan but the whole region and Pakistan can emerge as a regional geo-economic hub and could address the issues of poverty and underdevelopment but this will happen only if Pakistanis match Chinese.

Khalid Masood said that for the smooth implementation of CPEC projects, Pakistan would have to streamline and reform its outdated procedures. Pakistan will not only see infusion of Chinese investment and technology but also the development of its outdated structure. “If we work more seriously and earnestly and the CPEC routes become fully operational, Pakistan will benefit from the royalties through the transit trade which will flow on these routes,” he said.

Source: China Economic Net