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BEIJING: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a pilot project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a game changer and very important for socio-economic development of Pakistan and now, both Pakistan and China have agreed to invite third parties to participate in this project, Pakistan Ambassador to China, Moin-ul-Haque said on Sunday.

“This project has been a game changer and very important for socio-economic development of the country. Now, our two countries have agreed to invite third parties to participate in this project,” he told CCTV in an interview.

“We are now working to extend it to Afghanistan, the neighbouring country of both China and Pakistan,” he added.

Ambassador Haque said that China is a global leader in terms of many technologies like artificial intelligence, e-commerce, green technologies.

“So, it has been identified as one of the most important areas for the second phase, and we have established Joint Working Groups for cooperation,” he added.

He said that new corridors like China-Pakistan Digital Corridor, Green Corridor and Health Corridor have been launched to benefit on the emerging opportunities in the area science and technology and Information Technology (IT) fields.

Responding to a question about the transportation projects, he said that Lahore Orange Metro Train was one of the first early harvest projects under the CPEC framework.

“It was built in the second largest city of Lahore, a city of over 10 million people. It has provided efficient and affordable and very modern transport services to the people of Lahore,” he added.

Ambassador Haque said that the number of passengers on the Lahore Orange Metro Train has touched 100 million. In the last two years, it has provided the transport services to 100 million people.

He said the major focus was on the energy sector because at that time, Pakistan was facing acute shortages of energy and long hours of load-shedding, and added, the new projects have put in almost 8,000 megawatts of new energy into Pakistan’s system helping the not only the needs of the common man, but also the industrial needs.

About Gwadar port project, he said it is going to serve many of the Central Asian countries which are landlocked countries. “So, we provide very easy quick and very shortest route to the Arabian Sea.”

He expressed the confidence that the advantages which are occurring from CPEC will not only help Pakistan, but also the regional countries.

While highlighting bilateral relationship between the two countries, he said, “In Pakistan, we consider China is our best friend and in China, I know, Pakistanis are known as ‘Battie’, the iron brothers, an expression which is only reserved for Pakistan. It’s very heart-warming.”

To yet another question, he said that besides promoting economic relationships, trade, investment industry, both our countries are focusing on cooperation in culture, education and tourism. He said that there are now 25,000 plus Pakistani students in China and they are also serving as China-Pakistan friendship ambassadors.

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