Ahsan Emphasizes Need for Building Safe and Secure Environment for CPEC

Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal has directed to hold the security review meeting on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) every month. He also emphasized the need for building a safe and secure environment for CPEC and to effectively tackle kinetic and non-kinetic challenges.

The minister gave the direction while chairing a meeting to review the security progress on CPEC projects. “CPEC is a flagship project of Pakistan & China Economic Cooperation which can enable Pakistan to become an industrial economy. It is unfortunate that the momentum of 2013-18 couldn’t be sustained,” said the minister.

He expressed concern that Pakistan’s side of CPEC’s Joint Working Group on security has not been meeting frequently. He directed the Ministry of Interior to regularly convene its meetings every month. Without a coordinated effort there can be gaps that must be filled, he added.

He stated that National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) should function as per its laid down role and objectives to provide the government with an in-depth assessment of security challenges that are grounded in the socio-economic situation. It will help the government to expand its security lens by addressing socio-economic grievances of the people that may translate into security challenges if left unaddressed, he added.

Our security lens must also focus on limiting the vulnerability of our youth towards violence, extremism, and propaganda,” said the minister who vowed to undertake measures to ensure that youth is not alienated in the socio-economic development process, especially in less developed areas. The minister also directed the Secretary Ministry of Information to engage regional media so the youth of Baluchistan could be engaged.

The minister also directed all line ministries to ensure that laid down security protocols are followed by Chinese working on CPEC. He said that propaganda against CPEC is an attempt to deny people of less developed regions in Pakistan positive socio-economic changes.

The meeting was attended by the Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Secretary Ministry of Interior, Secretary Ministry of Information, and other relevant stakeholders.

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