ISLAMABAD, JULY 8 – Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) on Wednesday has stressed upon the need to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to turn the Azad Jammu Kashmir into ‘economic engine’ of Pakistan through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects.
Under the CPEC, nine special economic zones would be established across the country, including one in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir for which 1,185 acres of land has already been identified, said the president, adding that 571 acres of land would be acquired in the first phase and 614 acres in the second.
President PBF Sahibzada Mian Usman Zulfiqar said the Azad Jammu Kashmir owing to its huge youth bulge, high literacy rate, growing purchasing power parity, skilled workforce, and availability of raw materials, makes it fertile for economic investment. He said that currently, Azad Kashmir’s local industries are producing textile, paper, pharmaceuticals, automobile tires, rubber, plastic, piping, shoes, furniture, construction material, edibles, and handicrafts.
The PBF asked Pakistanis investors from specialized industries to explore the potential of AJK’s growing market. He said that under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a state of the art Special Economic Zone will be established in Mirpur which will facilitate investors and budding entrepreneurs including to explore opportunities in AJK’s growing tourism industry.
He also highlighted that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) must be a priority for private sector corporations and 2% of their net profits should be allocated for social welfare projects, especially poverty alleviation, skill development, health, and hygiene, and setting up programs for providing safe and clean water in AJK.
Though numerous fledging small and medium-sized industries producing a wide variety of end products.
The CSR activities should be a strategic response to the challenges faced by the people in a society and not an act of charity or philanthropy. He said that such activities are an essential part of overall economic growth and development in order to end poverty and ensure dignity and opportunity to the people of the country.
PBF said that corporate enterprises of Pakistan must invest in AJK in the area of innovation, promote practices for conservation of land, water, energy, minerals and ensure effective disposal of waste.
Similarly the public sector must also take measures to incentivize participation of the private sector in socio-economic projects by facilitating their operations. He said this could be achieved by de-risking development and investment through a friendly regulatory environment, using education and training to build-in technology into the labour market and by providing a conducive environment for the promotion of public-private partnerships.
“Usman Zulfiqar told that Pakistan and Azad Kashmir is at the cusp of an economic revolution”.