BEIJINGFederal Minister of Planning, Development and Reforms, Prof Ahsan Iqbal has said that maximum benefits would be achieved from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor undertaken by both the countries and bilateral cooperation would grow from strength to strength with the success of the corridor.He was addressing an International Academic Symposium on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor held at Peking University in Beijing. “The ultimate objective of CPEC is peace, prosperity and well being of the people of the two countries, the region and the world,” the minister said, hoping that further understanding on CPEC achieved during the symposium could provide further improvements to the corridor’s planning. While addressing the symposium, Prof Ahsan Iqbal highlighted recent progress on CPEC saying that the CPEC’s long-term planning was expected to be finalized by July this year and the Working Group on Industrial Cooperation was also expected to meet around the same time. He said that the land for Free Zone at Gwadar had been transferred to the Chinese company operating the port, for development as an industrial area. He said that it was hoped that economic activity along the corridor would flourish and more industrial activity would be generated in industrial zones and estates in Pakistan through forward and backward linkages. He said Pakistan would be keen to use the opportunity to set up enterprises that become part of the global value chain of products traded internationally. The minster said that both sides were committed that fruits of development of the corridor should benefit all areas of Pakistan consistent with scientific planning parameters. He said that CPEC would connect the nodes of growth centers including significant growth centers of Kashgar, Taxkorgan, Khunjerab, Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Sukkar, Quetta, Karachi, Gwadar, etc and such other nodes/growth centers which may fall within the CPEC in future. He said the corridor would be connected with trade facilitation corridors, dedicated freight corridors, energy corridors, trade logistics corridor, telecommunications corridor and other corridors of the like.On the occasion, Ambassador Masood Khalid described CPEC as a catalyst of regional economic integration and a vital bridge at the confluence of the Road and the Belt, being located at the crossroads of Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia. Ambassador Masood Khalid cautioned that CPEC should not be viewed through the prism of regional power dynamics, old style alliance formation or ‘ zero-sum relationship’ between different countries. “The spirit of CPEC is cooperation not confrontation, a win-win project for everyone in the region and beyond,” he added. He said that CPEC would provide alternate livelihood, alleviate poverty and was likely to act as a bulwark against forces of terrorism and violent extremism. It would tap Pakistan’s enormous natural and human resources, address acute energy shortfalls, modernize Pakistan’s transport infrastructure, and inject strong impulse for national economic development and help build a knowledge based egalitarian society as envisaged by Pakistan’s founding father Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.The two-day symposium is hosted by the Embassy of Pakistan in Beijing, Pakistan Cultural Studies Center at the Peking University and the China Silk Road Cultural Development Foundation along with Pakistan Cultural Study centers at Sichuan and Fudan Universities in China. Participants from Pakistan included amongst others, Prof Rifaat Hussain, Prof Hassan Askari Rizvi, Prof Moonis Ahmar, former Ambassador to China, Masood Khan. Participants from the Chinese side included Vice President of Peking University Li Yanson, Prof. Tang Mengsheng from Pakistan Center at Peking University, Wang Linggui from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, representatives from the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission and other Chinese government functionaries.