GWADAR: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has reaffirmed Pakistan Army’s resolve to provide security for $46bn China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and said that completion of the project will not only bring a true economic transformation to Balochistan but country and region as well.
Addressing a seminar on CPEC in Gwadar on Tuesday, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif said that in the place of today’s rugged mountains and lifeless barren deserts, we look forward to the emergence of modern infrastructure, special economic zones, health facilities and universities which will bring enduring benefits for our people.
“CPEC is a lifetime opportunity for Pakistan to improve the socio-economic equation of its [less privileged] areas and populace. I assure the people of Balochistan that it is [them] who will benefit the most from the fruits of this project,” the COAS added.
The army chief explained that the corridor ranged from Western China to the plains and coasts of Pakistan and promised that it will also benefit the country’s “remotest” areas of Gilgit-Baltistan.
General Raheel termed the CPEC as a “grand manifestation” of deep-rooted ties between China and Pakistan. “CPEC is indeed a corridor of peace and prosperity, not only for the people of Pakistan and China but also for the region and beyond,” he said.
The COAS termed transparency and good management as extremely important factors for the sustainability of the project.
“Socio-economic justice resulting from the balanced development will also increase people’s stakes in national unity and cohesion. For our enduring progress and prosperity, this sense of coherence will be our greatest asset,” the army general said.
General Raheel said that the project was being appreciated by world powers who consider it to be a “catalyst of economic transformation of the entire region”.
The COAS, while briefing the seminar about the positives of the project, also discussed the gravity of the prevailing challenges faced by the country with respect to CPEC.
“I must highlight that India, our immediate neighbor, has openly challenged this development initiative. We all know that hostile intelligence agencies are averse to this grand project.
“I would like to make a special reference to Indian Intelligence Agency, RAW, that is blatantly involved in destabilizing Pakistan. Let me make it clear that we will not allow anyone to create impediments and turbulence in any part of Pakistan,” said General Raheel.
The army chief assured the attendees that the security of CPEC was Pakistan Army’s “national undertaking” and that they will not leave “any stone unturned”. “We will continue to keep a close watch at its every step,” he added.
General Raheel said that a force comprising fifteen thousand men was responsible to secure the project under the ambit of Special Security Division.
“CPEC, besides being at the core of our national resolve, is a reflection of Pakistan-China friendship. It will be truly realized, whatever it takes.”