Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has emphasized that openness and inclusiveness "are indeed the need of the hour" for Asia as regional countries are more integrated and forging partnership in diverse fields.
Abbasi made the remarks on Tuesday during an interview with Chinese reporters in Islamabad ahead of his departure to China for the upcoming Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) that is themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity".
According to the prime minister, he will lead a delegation comprising ministers and senior officials to the forum.
"With a dynamic mix of world leaders and thinkers and practitioners participating from all walks of life, I expect BFA to be successful in generating informed and candid discussion on a wide range of issues towards forging a common vision for the Asian century," he said in a written reply to the reporters.
The prime minister highlighted the Belt and Road Initiative and its pilot project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), saying that the Belt and Road Initiative is a visionary initiative and has attracted many countries and organizations to the developing framework and CPEC could bring prosperity to the people of South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
"CPEC is not confined to just one or two projects, nor is it confined to cooperation in a few sectors. It encompasses a diversity of sectors including energy, communications, rail and road, infrastructure, social sector and livelihood projects," said Abbasi.
"It has indeed been a game changer. In the initial phase, CPEC has done extremely well in helping the country overcome energy shortage. A network of roads is under construction and Gwadar port infrastructure is being developed. We are now looking forward to the next stage of CPEC development which is the setting up of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs)."
With the establishment of the SEZs, thousands of new jobs will be generated to thousands of skilled and unskilled laborers in Pakistan and it will improve Pakistan's economic indicators through expanding bilateral and regional trade, promoting economic integration and fostering economic development, according to Abbasi.
"Together with China, we look forward to making Pakistan a major contributor to 'building a community of shared future for mankind' through CPEC," the prime minister concluded.