Islamabad - Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal has stressed the important role of academicians and researchers for implementation of targets set under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as the Vision 2025.

He was addressing the concluding ceremony of the national workshop organised by Higher Education Commission (HEC) to develop strategy for achieving objectives of CPEC on Thursday. The participants of the workshop included vice chancellors, senior academicians and researchers from higher learning institutions across the country. The aim of the workshop was to identify and deliberate role of country’s universities in strategising the implementation of various projects of CPEC.

While complementing HEC for holding the much-needed brainstorming session, he said that CPEC is collective enterprise of the whole nation.

“There is no way the government could achieve these targets unless all sections of the society play their defined roles and the contribution of academicians and researchers is of paramount importance.”

The minister said that CPEC has changed Pakistan’s image altogether globally. “This is a real change that a country synonymous with terrorism has attracted such a huge investment and is being regarded as a safe haven for Chinese investment,” he said. He stressed the importance of positive thinking and invited all sections of the society to unite for development and prosperity of the whole nation.

“History of nations shows that progress cannot be achieved without democratic stability, strategic economic vision and positive thinking.”

Ahsan urged the universities to ensure transfer of technology by enhancing linkage with industry, and provide hands-on experience to students and researchers by exposing them to currently on-going projects. He also underlined the significance of promoting entrepreneurship among students, empowering SMEs and turning focus towards technical subjects alongside soft subjects.

Earlier, Rector NUST Engr Muhammad Asghar said that the main concept and expected outcome of CPEC include people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges to promote inter-civilisation dialogue, and coordination of diplomatic strategies to build a harmonious neighborhood, energy projects, infrastructure projects, joint research centres, fibre optics cable, oil and gas pipelines, cooperation in print and electronic media, etc.

Dr Tariq Mahmood, Adviser (Research and Development), told the minister that after thoroughly deliberating proposals put forward by six groups, a comprehensive document will be prepared and submitted to Planning Commission for effective implementation of different projects as well as defining role of universities and researchers in achieving objectives of CPEC and Vision 2025.