OBOR will help overcome terrorism, poverty: Nawaz Sharif

Beijing [China], May 14 : Hailing China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday called Beijing a "close friend and trusted ally" of Islamabad.

Sharif was addressing the plenary session of China's Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation in Beijing.

He said OBOR signifies that geo-economics must take precedence over geo-politics, and that the centre of gravity should shift from conflict to cooperation.

Sharif congratulated China for hosting the "Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation" and for choosing a very apt theme for this Summit: "Cooperation for Common Prosperity".

"This is a historic event. It will build critical pathways in the years to come for economic and financial cooperation, business-to-business collaboration, and people-to-people contacts," he said.

Sharif told the gathering that Pakistan admires and commends China's vision and ingenuity in developing corridors across regions; in building supportive financial institutions such as the Silk Road Fund and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and in launching China Railway Express trains that construct a new bridge on the Eurasian landmass.

"One Belt-One Road" is an inter-continental mega-project that integrates infrastructure, energy, trade, telecommunications, investment and industrial development.

Such a broad sweep and scale of interlocking economic partnerships and investments is unprecedented in history.

We stand at the cusp of a geo-economic revolution. In fact, this is the dawn of a truly new era of synergetic intercontinental cooperation," he said. Sharif added that Pakistan views the OBOR initiative as a conscious and humanistic endeavour to take humankind to a higher level of prosperity, peace and stability through connectivity and close contact.

Noting that peace and development go hand in hand, Sharif added that nothing can pave the path for peace and security more than economic development achieved through regional collaboration.

He added that Islamabad sees the OBOR as a powerful tool for overcoming terrorism and extremism. "Pakistan believes that the most powerful impact of OBOR will be on the lives of poor and marginalised people, who would have higher incomes, better education and more health facilities.

It would help in eradicating poverty and achieving Sustainable Development, leaving no one behind," he said.

Asserting that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a core project of OBOR, Sharif emphasized that it has been rightly called its flagship because it aims to connect the neighbourhoods of East and West Asia.

He said the CPEC makes Pakistan both a conduit and destination for cross-regional investment and trade.

Sharif clarified that the CPEC is an economic undertaking open to all countries in the region and it has no geographical boundaries.

"In implementing this Corridor, we are not striving to merely leverage geography for economic prosperity; we are also trying to build a peaceful, connected and caring neighbourhood.

It is time we transcend our differences, resolve conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy, and leave a legacy of peace for future generations," "The CPEC is a project owned and nurtured by all citizens of Pakistan.

It is also fully compatible with our own Vision 2025, which invests our resources in multiple corridors of regional cooperation, including energy, industry, trade and transportation.

In pursuance of this vision, we are also bridging the gap between economic growth and social development by focusing on poverty alleviation, education, health, and gender mainstreaming.

We would tap the full potential of our youth, who constitute more than 60 per cent of our population," he added.

Sharif further said the CPEC must not be politicised and it remains open to all countries. Sharif is leading a high level delegation along with four provincial chief ministers, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Railways Minister Saad Rafique, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir and IT Minister Anushay Rehman, among others to attend the international forum to highlight the Chinese initiative of "One Belt One Road.

During his six-day visit, Prime Minister Sharif is scheduled to meet several Chinese leaders. Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday met Prime Minister Sharif and asserted that China-Pakistan relations remain a priority for Beijing.

The two sides also signed several memoranda of understanding (MoU) yesterday. As many as 28 heads of state and government, over 50 leaders of international organisations, over 100 ministerial-level officials, as well as over 1,200 delegates from various countries and regions are participating in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation summit.

OBOR is a Chinese initiative that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily China and the rest of Eurasia, which consists of two main components, the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt" (SREB) and oceangoing "Maritime Silk Road" (MSR).

Source: ANI