As an inclusive Chinese initiative, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been promoting global economic development and human rights governance by improving the living conditions of people in countries around the globe including Pakistan, said a Pakistani expert.
“The BRI puts emphasis on infrastructure development and economy … in eradicating poverty and improving living conditions, thus addressing key facets of human rights in BRI participating countries,” said Muhammad Asif Noor, director of the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies, an Islamabad-based think-tank.
In terms of Pakistan, Noor said the BRI through its flagship project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has played a crucial role in bolstering infrastructure development, employment, trade and investment in Pakistan, hence strengthening the national economy.
Launched in 2013, the CPEC is a corridor linking the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan with Kashgar in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which highlights energy, transport and industrial cooperation.
“Generous Chinese investments in Pakistan have sped up the construction of contemporary energy and transportation infrastructure, thereby reducing energy shortages and enhancing connectivity,” the expert said in a recent interview with Xinhua, adding that the upgraded infrastructure has helped businesses in Pakistan, and vastly raised the living standards and dignity of citizens.
Noor noted that the BRI has opened up new trade routes and opportunities that would increase the gross domestic product of the country, highlighting that economic diversification and access to new markets have now become a reality.
Besides, the BRI has helped Pakistan enhance its educational infrastructure, he said, adding that supported by the Chinese initiatives, the educational environment has been upgraded through investments in educational institutions and career training facilities.
“Pakistanis now have more access to educational and job-training options because of the BRI. This large investment in human capital aids in the long-term growth of Pakistan, giving Pakistani people the necessary competencies and skills required for good jobs and economic progress,” the expert said.
Talking about the various development projects in the country’s southwest Balochistan province, Noor underlined that the growth of Gwadar Port and its associated free zone has not only increased economic prospects but also improved the local population’s general quality of life.
“The progress in Balochistan, especially Gwadar district, has resulted in the creation of new jobs, a thriving local business environment, and increased access to needed goods and services,” he added.
Other than promoting socio-economic development, the expert said that China is working with BRI participating countries to ensure the BRI projects’ sustainability while reducing their potential environmental impacts.
“BRI’s dedication to eco-friendly methods is in line with international efforts to combat climate change and conserve the environment, all of which are essential to maintaining the well-being of the present and future generations,” he said.
In Pakistan, he said the dedication to lowering pollution and preserving the environment under BRI is being witnessed in the employment of eco-friendly technologies in power plants and transportation systems.
China released a white paper titled “The Belt and Road Initiative: A Key Pillar of the Global Community of Shared Future” on Tuesday. In a world full of uncertainties and instabilities, all countries should urgently bridge differences through dialogue, oppose rifts with unity, and promote development through cooperation, the white paper said, adding that against this backdrop, “the BRI becomes more meaningful and is an initiative to be welcomed.”
(With input from agencies)