ISLAMABAD: Three universities being established on the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan will start functioning this year, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal said.
Speaking at a seminar, Iqbal said the universities are part of the government’s efforts to produce quality human resource while focusing on infrastructural development and energy production through the CPEC.
The CPEC, a trans-regional project, will benefit 3 billion people in the region through enhanced regional connectivity with Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and play an instrumental role in integrating the whole region, he said.
“The CPEC will benefit the most backward areas of the country and this change has started to appear in the form of emerging settlements alongside a section of the western route from Quetta to Gwadar, which is scheduled to be completed by end of this year,” the minister said.
Iqbal expressed confidence that Balochistan would experience a new era of development and prosperity when missing links on the western and central routes will be completed.
The CPEC is not a project restricted to the present government’s tenure, but a 15-year-long project which will be completed in 2030, he said.
“Even India has started realising the potential benefits of trade with China through the CPEC,” the minister said, adding that the project is a fusion of the Pakistan Vision 2025 plan and China’s One Road-One Belt initiative.