The Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) has initiated a series of seminars on CPEC. The first seminar was held in Serena Hotel Islamabad on December 17, 2016. Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank known for its effective synergy of basic and policy-relevant research. Being the premier institution, it conducts independent analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including terrorism, violent extremism and other armed conflicts and their resolution and transformation.
Speaking to the gathering, Ms. Saba Aslam, The Executive Director IICR, emphasized in her opening remarks on the importance of the initiative taken by the IICR, as it would be of huge benefits to both the nations. She said that CPEC would bring massive improvements in the sectors such as social development, economic uplift, infrastructure development, energy, and many more. Ms. Saba also discussed that CPEC will be a mean for connectivity, not only for China and Pakistan but for the whole region which would have a spillover of economic and infrastructural development across borders. She said that in order to overcome the threat of terrorism and the non-state actors in the region, especially Xinjiang, the successful manifestation of the route is inevitable.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Muhammad Khan, Executive Board Member of IICR and former Head of Department International Relations Department, NDU Islamabad, presented Pakistan perspective of CPEC. He explained in detail the economic and geostrategic importance of CPEC for Pakistan as well as China. He said that Pakistan is the new geographical pivot. Dr. Khan also emphasized that CPEC will provide a step towards resolution of issues and will bring an end to the existing distrust in the regional politics. He also deliberated on the projects associated with CPEC which will be improving the infrastructure of Pakistan as well as regional connectivity. Concluding his speech, Dr. Khan provided very insightful policy measures, of both regional and international level, to overcome the challenges CPEC would face in future.
Mr. Farid Ullah, Director IICR, presented his paper on Chinese perspective of CPEC. He laid emphasis on the CPEC as an alternative and much shorter route for China to import Hydrocarbons from Middle East and Iran. He explained the inevitability of the route for the development of the land locked region of Xinjiang. He said that the route would overcome the threat of terrorism and non-state actors in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asian Republics and Xinjiang. He went on discussing the China Pakistan economic corridor as an integral and inevitable part of One Belt One Road initiative of China under President Xi Jinping’s 13thfive year plan that would result in the economic development of not only Western China, Pakistan, Central Asia, but the whole region.
Talking to the concluding session, Mr. Zhao Lijian, Deputy Head of Mission at Chinese Embassy, expressed his hope for implementation of all the projects under CPEC. He also highlighted that CPEC is an initiative that is generating win-win cooperation between Pakistan and China, and helps in bringing prosperity to the region. Mr. Zhao also announced that three new projects, one each in Baluchistan, Sindh and KPK will be inaugurated in a couple of days.
Mr. Zahir Shah, Project Director/CPEC coordinator, Planning and Development Commission of Pakistan, lauded the efforts of IICR in the organization of a successful event, He agreed with Mr. Zhao Lijian and talked about how CPEC has become vital for both states for a number of reasons. He referred CPEC as a way forward for Pakistan. Mr. Shah also complimented all the speakers on the relevance of their studies to the project and acknowledged their recommendations,
A cross section of people including people from media, academia, think tanks, ministries and armed forces attended the seminar. Ambassadors and representative of international organizations in Islamabad were also present at the occasion.