Role of Higher Education sector significant for achieving China-Pakistan Economic Corridor objectives: Ahsan Iqbal

Islamabad, June 18, 2015 (PPI-OT): Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms has stressed the important role of academicians and researchers for implementation of targets set under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as the Vision 2025. He was addressing the concluding ceremony of the National Workshop organized by Higher Education Commission (HEC) to develop strategy for achieving objectives of CPEC at Islamabad on Thursday.

The participants of the workshop included Vice Chancellors, senior academicians and researchers from higher learning institutions across the country. The aim of the workshop was to identify and deliberate role of country’s universities in strategizing the implementation of various projects of CPEC.

While complementing HEC for holding the much-needed brainstorming session, he said that CPEC is collective enterprise of the whole nation. “There is no way the Government could achieve these targets unless all sections of the society play their defined roles and the contribution of academicians and researchers is of paramount importance.”

The Minister said that CPEC has changed Pakistan’s image altogether globally. “This is a real change that a country synonymous with terrorism has attracted such a huge investment and is being regarded as a safe haven for Chinese investment,” he said.

He stressed the importance of positive thinking and invited all sections of the society to unite for development and prosperity of the whole nation. “History of nations shows that progress cannot be achieved without democratic stability, strategic economic vision and positive thinking.”

Mr. Ahsan urged the universities to ensure transfer of technology by enhancing linkage with industry, and provide hands-on experience to students and researchers by exposing them to currently on-going projects. He also underlined the significance of promoting entrepreneurship among students, empowering SMEs and turning focus towards technical subjects alongside soft subjects.

Earlier, in his keynote address, Engr. Muhammad Asghar explained the major objectives of CPEC. He gave an overview of China-Pakistan relations in the historic perspective as well as increasing significance of strategic collaboration between the two countries, especially after 9/11 incidents.

He quoted the Chinese President as saying during his recent visit, “China and Pakistan will build a community of common destiny to set an example of harmonious relations between friendly neighbours. China and Pakistan will align economic and trade strategies so as to deepen economic interdependence.”

The Rector said that the main concept and expected outcome of CPEC include people-to-people and cultural exchanges to promote inter civilization dialogue, and coordination of diplomatic strategies to build a harmonious neighbourhood, energy projects, infrastructure projects, joint research centres, fiber optics cable, oil and gas pipelines, cooperation in print and electronic media, etc.

The participants were divided into six groups with different topics. These included Logistics, Transportation and Infrastructure Development including Rail, Road, Ports, Airports, ICT, etc; Political, Social and Cultural Challenges; Skills and Future Employment Generation; Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change and Food Security; Economic Stability, Prosperity, and Increased International Trade and Investment through Knowledge Inputs; and Energy and Water Security.

Dr. Mansoor Akbar Kundi, Executive Director HEC assured the Minister that the higher education leaders are committed to achieve goals set in CPEC and Vision 2025. He said that CPEC is a great opportunity to come out of numerous crisis plaguing Pakistan.

Dr. Tariq Mahmood, Adviser (Research and Development) formally welcomed the participants and the chief guest. He appreciated their active involvement in the group discussions and told the Minister that after thoroughly deliberating proposals put forward by six groups, a comprehensive document will be prepared and submitted to Planning Commission for effective implementation of different projects as well as defining role of universities and researchers in achieving objectives of CPEC and Vision 2025.

For more information, contact:
Aayesha Ikram
Director (Media)
Higher Education Commission, Pakistan
Sector H-9, Islamabad
Tel: +92-51-90402404, +92-51-90402412