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Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser has said that second phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would start next month with groundbreaking of Rashakai Special Economic Zone.

The speaker expressed these views while addressing a ceremony organized by Pakistan-China Institute along with PowerChina here on Thursday as a chief guest. A report on energy projects of CPEC including a specific one on the first power project, the Port Qasim Power Project of 1320MW, was presented in the ceremony.

The speaker appreciated the efforts of PowerChina for promoting of CPEC and development of energy infrastructure in Pakistan, stating in clear term that the "Parliament of Pakistan fully supports CPEC and, Insha Allah, we will take it forward, including the second phase being started with the Rashakai Special Economic Zone, whose groundbreaking is scheduled in December 2019."

He also announced that the National Assembly will organise a seminar in December to discuss expansion of CPEC beyond Pakistan and China to Central Asia, adding he had instructed the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC to initiate seminars in different parts of Pakistan.

He said, "I am a representative of China in Pakistan. I will ask the Chinese friends to open up their market for Pakistanis especially in the field of agriculture." He also praised the positive role of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed in the promotion of CPEC.

The speaker said that socio-economic uplift of the society was the top priority of the present government and policies in that regard were being actively pursued. He said that socially developed society and individuals could better play their role in national development. He said that qualitative changes in the structure and framework of the society within religious and cultural norms are imperative for national development.

While praising the role of civil society in social development, he said it had created an immensely informed society which was aware of its national obligations. He said the government could not solely achieve those objectives; however, with collective efforts of the civil society organisations, the government's efforts could be supplemented. He said Parliament was alive on that issue and would always extend its cooperation in this regard.

Later, a video of the Port Qasim Power Plant was also shown on this occasion and the speaker National Assembly unveiled PowerChina's Pakistan Sustainable Development Report as well as two research reports prepared by the Pakistan China Institute on the Port Qasim Power Plant, on Exploring Socio-Economic Impact and the other on Exploring Environment Effects.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019