KARACHI - Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilization of Karachi University (KU), organised a seminar here on Thursday titled, ‘Sindh at the crossroads of success through CPEC’.

The purpose of the event was to clear misconceptions about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and explain its various aspects.

 “I believe that preaching alone can never change a country. You have to change objective conditions as well,” said KU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr M Ajmal Khan in his remarks. He emphasised improvements in the education system of the country besides infrastructure in order to develop a nation.

“Moreover, a paradigm shift from feudal to modern mindset is mandatory to achieve economic progress. Our federal and provincial bureaucracy believes that a few grants will bring about a sudden change.” he said, and added, “On the contrary, commitment and consistency is the actual key to development.”

The VC hoped that CPEC would prove to be a great and historic milestone in the history of Pak-China relations which will not only bring extensive job opportunities to the locals but also bring development in the underdeveloped areas of the country, especially Balochistan and Sindh. Speaking to the audience, Fazalullah Qureshi, former federal secretary, said that various power and transport infrastructure projects had been given to Sindh under the CPEC

“Sindh is a like a surrogate mother, producing power from Thar coal and Bin Qasim, which is utilised by Punjab,” he said while explaining the misery experienced by the people of Sindh.

He further talked about the scarcity of quality water available to the people of a province that generates 70 percent of the total revenue for Pakistan.  “We only have a surplus of manpower.” he responded to a question.

He left the rostrum with a question; why can’t we divert resources in the social sector? Where does the common man of Sindh lie?

Dr Tanveer Ahmed Qureshi, Director General Sindh Board of Investment, then took the dice and spoke about the per capita GDP being $1400 meanwhile the market size of Pakistan is 220 million consumers. “We need to focus on three I’s ie: Institution, Infrastructure and investment” he said.

He also highlighted the vitality of Karachi as a backbone of Pakistan’s economy, saying the city had two seaports and was a gateway to Central Asia, Africa, Europe and China. He also shed light on the special economic zones situated in Khairpur, Bin Qasim, Korangi Creek, Dhabeji, Keti Bandar etc.

He added that in terms of quality governance, Pakistan stood at 138th position while China at 84th followed by India at 130th, out of total 189 countries. 

He further said that China would have to cover 14,000 km to reach Gwadar had CPEC not been envisioned, which had now been reduced to just 3,200km via Kashgar. “Pakistan will benefit from investing in transport, energy and industrial sectors” he informed.

He was of the view that CPEC would not itself act as a concrete game changer, but it would provide opportunities to the common people to grab these and change the game themselves.

He further urged that education was the core value that needed attention and improvement that will mend ways towards development and success for the people of Pakistan.

Javed Qazi, a lawyer, writer and political analyst, in his address, focused on poverty and feudalism rampant in Sindh. “Around 10 million people in Sindh are malnourished and have no access to clean water,” he said while referring to the Karl Marx’s theory of change of society.

He emphasised that the people of rural Sindh are compelled to elect feudal leaders even though none of them ever appeared to be a blessing for them.

He said that the reason why class structure was not breaking was because there’s no development in the infrastructure of the industrial sector. “People are not going to vote for narrator, instead they’ll vote for the lords. May God have mercy on them,” he said while concluding his address.

Director ISHU and Program coordinator Professor Dr Bilquees Gul delivered the vote of thanks speech and said the whole world has its eye on CPEC and this project will prove to be game changer for not only Pakistan but the whole region.

Dean faculty of social sciences KU Professor Dr Muhammad Ahmed Qadri also spoke on the occasion terming CPEC as the fate changer for Pakistanis. CPEC has the attention of the whole international community.