“Friends of Silk Road” launched in Pakistan


ISLAMABAD, FEB 14 (DNA) – Pakistan-China Institute (PCI), Pakistan’s non-governmental organisation devoted to Pakistan-China relations and the region, on Thursday launched “Friends of Silk Road” in Pakistan on Feb. 14 as a peoples platform bringing together different segments of society.

 PCI’s Chairman, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, told the inauguration ceremony in Islamabad that the “Friends of Silk Road” is a major initiative, and given Pakistan’s pivotal role on CPEC as well as our long-standing relationship with China, which is now elevated from ‘All Weather Friendship’ to being ‘Iron Brothers,’ he said.

He said Pakistan is the first among the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries to launch the forum which would include local communities, parliamentarians, press, business and opinion leaders, youth and women, professionals and civil society, students and scholars.

“The forum will provide both a better understanding and information about benefits of the fruits of progress and development offered by the numerous opportunities arising out of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),Mushahid Hussain said. He said ‘thanks to CPEC, there is not only a turnaround in the image of Pakistan but our role is emerging as a major hub of regional connectivity”.

He said the region that constitutes Pakistan today was a part of the ancient Silk Road 2000 years ago and today the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the centrepiece of the New Silk Road.

Chairman PCI said “ ‘Friends of Silk Road’ will be sharing stories, experiences, and examples of progress, development and friendship between the peoples of Pakistan and China, infused with the Spirit of the Silk Road that is driving progress in the 21st century”.

“Friends of Silk Road” will be a major platform to build upon the success of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and its flagship, CPEC and its broad mandate including promoting awareness about how the BRI through CPEC is changing lives for the better of the people of Pakistan.

The activities of ‘Friends of Silk Road’ would include seminars, conferences and workshops on various aspects of the BRI as well as fact sheets and updates on various projects of CPEC plus share experiences, stories and examples of other countries that are part of the BRI.

It will promote the Spirit of “Silk Road” based on win win cooperation, mutual benefit and people-to-people understanding, strengthening friendship via Corridors, Culture and Connectivity.

Mushahid Hussain said CPEC represents a new height in Pakistan-China strategic ties and ever since President Xi Jinping announced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, this has emerged as the most significant and developmental initiative of the 21st century.

“The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) currently involves over 65 countries, comprising 70% of the world’s population, 55% of the global GDP and nearly 25%of global trade. $5 trillion are expected to be spent for infrastructure in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries in the next decade”, he said.

The launch of “Friends of Silk Road” was attended by a high-level 14-member Delegation from China led by GAO Yunlong, Vice Chairman of the Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which is the upper house of the Chinese Parliament.

Yunlong told the meeting that CPEC will help in economic growth in Pakistan.  He said CPEC is not limited to certain groups and communities. “It is open to all Pakistan and all Pakistani people”.

The Chinese deputy ambassador Lijian Zhao told the ceremony that CPEC has provided more than 68000 jobs. The projects have been significant contributor to tax to Pakistan, he said. = DNA