Govt determined to make Pakistan as economic hub in Asia: Ahsan Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development  and Reform, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said that Pakistan had been a centre of Geo-Strategic theaters in past but present government was committed to change Pakistan’s role as a hub of Geo-Economics in Asia.

He said the government focused on greater regional connectivity by developing infrastructure and close ties with the neighboring countries.

Prof.Ahsan Iqbal said this while addressing on the occasion of Signing Ceremony of the rehabilitation of Kalat, Queta, Chaman National Highway with United States Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olsen.

USAID will fund US$ 64 million for the construction of 147km of National Highway within Eighteen months.

Remaining part of 247 km long highway has already been constructed with the assistance of Asian Development Bank.

While addressing the ceremony, the Federal Minister said, “Development of Balochistan, specifically its social and economic uplift is our top priority”.

He said that Kalat to Chaman National Highway’ is a part of our regional connectivity plan starting from Karachi to Kalat, Quetta, Chaman and continuing into Afghanistan further leads to Iran and through various Iranian Highways to Turkey and onwards Europe.

He added that the Construction and Rehabilitation of `Kalat to Chaman National Highway’ will play a vital role in the development of Balochistan in particular and Pakistan in general, and will stimulate trade and economic growth.

Ahsan Iqbal said the construction of Highway would have a significant impact on `post 2014 Afghanistan’ for bringing peace and stability in the region.”

The Minister added, “Pakistan is located at the centre of four engines of growth in the Asian Region, including China, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East”.

Pakistan could take benefit from its geo-political significance by developing extensive network of regional connectivity infrastructure in North-South and East-West directions, he said.

The Minister said that the transport and infrastructure development was the seventh pillar of `Pakistan Vision 2025′ which aimed at achieving intra and inter- connectivity for stimulating economic development and growth in Pakistan.

The Minister appreciated the US government for its assistance in the development of `Kalat, Quetta, Chaman National Highway’ project.

US Ambassador, Richard Olsen said that US government was committed to bringing stability and peace in the region and would continue to work for it and support Pakistan’s government in this regard.