Call to include women in CPEC projects

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In commemoration of 70 years of Pakistan-China diplomatic relations, the Pakistan-China Institute organised a webinar titled “Future leaders in shaping Pakistan-China relations”.

The conference was arranged under Friends of Silk Road initiative. The webinar was arranged to understand and facilitate bilateral youth exchanges under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it enters its second phase.

This was the first of its kind bilateral dialogue aimed at engaging youth of both the countries.

A panel of eight speakers, including young parliamentary leaders, Senator Qurratul Ain Marri and Senator Dr Afnanullah Khan, participated in the webinar.

The keynote speakers were divided into two sessions while opening remarks were given by Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director Pakistan China Institute.

The conference was divided into two sessions with different themes. The theme of Session one was “Pakistan-China Future Cooperation: A Perspective of Young Leaders” whereas, Session two was themed as “People to People Connectivity: Role of media and culture.”

The event was moderated by Qianli Liu, Editor of Guancha, who highlighted 70 successful years of Pakistan-China relationship in shaping future of the region.

While talking about youth exchanges, she said that youth development doesn’t distinguish on race, ethnicity, and religion, and so must be taken forward.

Dr Lou Chunhao, Deputy Director and Associate Research Professor of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary Relations, spoke on Pakistan-China Cooperation: Challenges & Opportunities.

After congratulating the panel on 70 years of Pakistan-China relations, he highlighted four areas of opportunities for Pakistan and China.

These were i) political commitment, which is a prerequisite; ii) economic cooperation, a solid foundation for Pak-China relations; iii) Strategic convergence, shared convergent ideas, and iv) Covid 19, against which he thinks Pakistan and China have put up a strong front.

Senator Quratulain Marri showed a good grasp over women empowerment and CPEC as she advocated for women inclusion in CPEC-related projects.

She presented China as a model country which falls at top 30pc of Global Gender Gap Index, and said that Pakistan can learn from this.

She advocated that while CPEC presents a number of opportunities, women empowerment can only come about after female perspectives are catered to, such as in Thar coal power plant.

Senator Marri said: “An increase of women employment by 25pc, creates a GDP growth of 33pc, and Pakistan needs to work towards achieving this if it wants to make CPEC a tangible reality for the people at the grassroots level.”

Wang Benqian, Deputy General Manager of China Road and Bridge Corporation talked about the Role of CPEC in enhancing mutual understanding.

As he recounted his 10 years’ experience living in Pakistan, he highlighted that CPEC should not only be built on land but in the hearts of people, as is envisioned by President Xi Jinping as well.

He said that CPEC will serve as a pre-requisite for enhanced political and economic cooperation, and people to people cultural exchanges.

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