CPEC is mother of all BRI projects: EFP

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Karachi: “CPEC is the mother of all Belt and Road Initiative projects and Gwadar is the linchpin of CPEC. The success of Gwadar is directly related to the dedication and unanimity of the Chinese as well as the Pakistani government, political parties, armed forces, private sector, residents of Balochistan, and media, etc. Gwadar Port and Thar Coal projects are the two economic saviors of Pakistan and it is imperative that all Pakistanis must be sensitized to accept and adopt these projects as their own and that, as citizens, it is obligatory on them to have a positive outlook so that CPEC projects become the source of economic prosperity of Pakistan.” This was stated by Majyd Aziz, President Employers Federation of Pakistan, who as sole representative of private sector, was addressing the Seminar on “CPEC Related Laws, Importance and Enforcement” organized by Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto University of Law.

Majyd Aziz added that it is a sad fact that most of the Chambers and Associations are still not fully conversant with the conditionalities of the CPEC agreement nor are fully aware of the full potential and huge viability and success of the economic benefits of CPEC projects. He deflated the criticism that CPEC is another East India Company. He said that the Company had come with the intention to colonize the sub-continent while CPEC is the most important component of global economic integration under the BRI. The BRI comprises of six Corridors covering sixty countries of Asia, Africa and Europe involving over $800 billion investment.

Majyd Aziz also said that Pakistan must learn from the Chinese experience of how to get people involved at all micro and macro levels and that the private sector must be taken on board, informed, educated and encouraged to put in their share of investment, acceptance and involvement. Therefore, it is imperative that a separate CPEC National Council be formed to oversee the CPEC projects. It should be a broad based entity with inclusion of government, judiciary, armed forces, politicians, economists, media, and private sector and workers nominees. The present system of routing these through a Ministry leads to allegations of non-transparency and distrust.

Majyd Aziz called for developing a mechanism that would set a limit of Chinese workers in each project and would enable the induction of Pakistani workers in these projects. There is an urgent need to set up modern skill development and vocational and technical institutes to cater to the requirement of CPEC related projects. EFP has embarked upon the Skill 2020 Pakistan project under which 200,000 youth would be trained in the next five years in collaboration with institutes such as AmanTech and Skill Development Councils. He also lamented that in none of the Universities, especially law universities, there are no courses on Labor Law in their curriculum, especially Labor Laws related to international market, international labor standards, and development in areas of social compliances. Even graduates are generally unaware of practices in areas of implementation of international labor and environmental standards and therefore they are not equipped with practical exposure to social compliances. This leaves a wide gap when they are confronted with major issues in their professional careers, either as lawyers or in the corporate world. He asked who would develop the curriculum for Labor Laws, Sustainable Development Goals, or Corporate Social Responsibility. He offered the services of EFP in developing the curricula. He further informed that EFP, in collaboration with a major educational institute, is about to launch the first ever one-year Diploma in Industrial and Employment Relations.

The Seminar was also addressed by Justice Irfan Saadat Khan, Senior Puisne Judge of Sindh High Court, Justice Qazi Khalid Ali, Founding Vice Chancellor SZABUL, Justice (R) Khilji Arif Hussain, DG Sindh Judicial Academy, Anwer Mansoor, Former Attorney General of Pakistan, Mehmood Sham, Editor Jahan-e-Pakistan,  Naheed Memon, Chairperson Sindh Board of Investment, and Federal Secretaries Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Akber Hussain Durrani and Samaira Nazeer Siddiqui while Syed Sharaf Shah, Registrar SZABUL, moderated the highly attended event.