CPEC: Speakers urge Pakistanis to remove the language barrier

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a conference here on Thursday termed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project as one of the biggest foreign investments in the country and said that people needed to remove language barrier if they wanted to avail that economic opportunity.

“Language plays a huge role in improving relations between countries. It is equally important for trade or business. So Pakistanis better remove the language barrier and learn Chinese language,” Dr Shaheed Soharwardi, chairman of department of international relations, University of Peshawar told the conference entitled “CPEC -- Opportunities and Challenges”. The conference was organised by China Study Centre at UoP.

Dr Soharwardi said that compared to that of the USA, China’s investment was huge and unprecedented in context of Pakistan. US obligated in total $67 billion between 1951 and 2012 but China would be investing $51 billion.

He said that cooperation by the US was interest-based and it needed Pakistan’s support strategically but relations between China and Pakistan were based on long term.

Speakers term mega project one of the biggest investments in country

Dr Soharwardi said that CPEC would benefit both Pakistan and China. He said that some 60,000 white-collar jobs would be created that could be a huge opportunity for jobless Pakistanis.

“Language barrier is a huge problem. This must go if both the people want to understand each other and develop ties,” said Dr Soharwardi. He added that not only Chinese language centres in Pakistan but Urdu language centres were also needed in China.

“Like Chinese we should also speak less and work more so that we are prepared when the Chinese projects are launched here. Learning language is the first barrier we need to remove,” he said.

Prof Bushra Hamid, the dean of faculty of management and information sciences, said that impact of CPEC would be long term therefore different aspects of the mega project should be explained. She said that so far there was no clarity about nature of the projects and their locations.

Mohammad Ismail, the project coordinator of Hindukush Karakoram Pamir Landscape, Katmandu, Nepal said that environment and culture should be kept in mind while executing all the CPEC-related projects.

Dr Farhan Saeed of economics department, University of Peshawar was of the view that CPEC would increase GDP of Pakistan by 15 per cent annually it became fully operational.

Prof Zahid Anwar, the coordinator of China Study Centre, talked about the CPEC transportation and infrastructure related projects in Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. He said that CPEC was a big opportunity.

He said that all sub projects of CPEC should be utilised for the benefit of common Pakistanis. He said that due to the coordination of China Study Cell, University of Peshawar signed memorandums of understanding with Jiangsu University, China and Northwest University.

“We would be not only teaching Chinese language at Confucius Institute here at China Study Centre but also conduct researches on Pak-China relations and various regional issues,” said Prof Anwar.

Prof Mohammad Abid, the pro-vice-chancellor of University of Peshawar, who was chief guest on the occasion, said that China Study Centre was organising useful events. The conference on CPEC would increase awareness among people and they would develop a more realistic perception about the mega project, he added.