KARACHI: President, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan on Monday invited the people of Karachi, especially the business community, to visit AJK as tourists and invest there in different sectors including tourism, which has big potential mainly after formal inclusion of AJK into China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
AJK President was speaking on “Economic Opportunities in AJK and CPEC” here at Beach Luxury Hotel on the invitation of English Speaking Union (ESU).
ESU’s President Aziz Memon, Secretary General Majyed Aziz, Vice Presidents Kaleem Farooqui and Khawaja Iahan Zeb, former governor Sindh Barrister Kamal Azfar, General Manager of Beach Luxury Hotel, M. Azeem Qureshi, Consul General of Sri Lanka G. L. Gnanatheva, of Britain Steve Crossman and from Turkey were prominent on this occasion, Highlighting the importance of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China, he said, China wanted its strong linkage with South Asia, Central Asia and the West. BRI was the transformational initiative. Sixty five countries were participating in BRI, 4.5 billion population was to be covered by it and dollars 900 billion were expected to be invested in BRI projects. The positive impact on the member countries’ economies would be around dollars 1.2 trillion.
CPEC was the first landmark corridor of BRI. CPEC was a game changer in the region. China had so far invested dollars 62 billion under CPEC, major portion was for energy sector. Four main components of CPEC were strengthening agriculture, financial cooperation, people-to-people cooperation and overall cooperation, he said.
Sardar Masood Khan, who is also a former senior diplomat, pointed out that there were certain challenges to CPEC. The main risk was the uncertain regional and global situations.
However, he said, there was no credit crisis in CPEC as the commercial buyers of the electricity and other products of the CPEC projects would pay off the loan, which was given at very low mark-up.
Amongst the CPEC energy projects, there were early harvest projects like at Port Qasim and Sahiwal power plants. On commissioning of various power projects, including hydel and coal-fired projects, the country would add 10,000 MW to its energy kit by end of 2018.
He said with timely and successful execution of CPEC, Pakistan would be a prosperous country and would emerge as Japan of South Asian region.
Pakistan’s economic outlook was good and in next couple of years, the GDP could touch 6.5 percent.
He mentioned that peaceful and ambitious Karachi was must to reap the real benefits of CPEC.
AJK President informed that AJK was formally included in CPEC, under which the main projects would be the Expressway, one special economic zone at Mirpur, Karor and Kohala power projects, and development of 200 kilo meters long tourists corridor.
He said AJK was rich in minerals including coal, and precious and semi precious stones. “Our rubi is the best in the world”, he said.
Sardar Masood Khan appreciated the moral and political support to Kashmir cause from the Government and people of Pakistan.
ESU President Aziz Memon spoke of the activities of the union and the scheduled programmes for next few months especially the reception in London for the members of ESU from various countries, which would be hosted by Queen Elzabeth from 14 to 18 May 2018.
He advised the interested ESU members to get them registered with ESU secretariat here before 16th of this month.