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Pakistani expert: BRI is future of global youth development

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-04-27 14:08

Qaiser Nawab sat down for an exclusive interview with China Daily in Beijing. [photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

2023 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Belt and Road Intitiative. Qaiser Nawab, an international expert on the Belt and Road Initiative, sat down for an exclusive interview with China Daily in Beijing. The transcript of the full interview is as follows.

Q: There's been a narrative among Western media and politicians that China has used "debt-trap diplomacy" to expand its influence, burdening countries with debt to dominate their economic and political agendas. What's your take on this? Is China's "debt trap" a myth?

A: The debt trap is a myth. China's commitment to harmonious coexistence and its 21st-century socialist economic model has been instrumental in uplifting the lives of its citizens and, indeed, those of other nations around the globe. This model, which emphasizes state-led investment in infrastructure, innovation and social programs, has enabled China to become a global economic powerhouse and significantly reduce poverty levels within its borders. China's economic model has allowed it to extend its support to downtrodden people in other nations, particularly in Africa and Asia. Through initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative, China has provided much-needed infrastructure and investment to these regions, stimulating economic growth and social development.

Q: What do you think is the BRI's biggest contribution to Pakistan? What benefits has it brought to its economy and people?

A: Pakistan has been a major beneficiary of the Belt and Road Initiative, thanks to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The CPEC has provided a significant boost to Pakistan's economy by facilitating energy and infrastructure development, generating employment opportunities and enhancing regional connectivity. The CPEC is expected to make all industrial units operational up to 2030, thus improving Pakistan's trade competitiveness and enhancing its manufacturing sector. By connecting Pakistan with the world, the BRI has opened up new opportunities for economic growth and development in the country.

Q: As a youth leader who has traveled the world and represented Pakistani youth at many international forums, what opportunities do you think BRI will bring to global youth?

A: As a global youth leader, I have traveled to all the continents, except Antarctica. I met many youth leaders around the world and exchanged views on many important global issues including youth connectivity, networks and global development. I believe the BRI is the future of youth development and it is a ray of hope that can connect the youth and bring prosperity to them. During my visit to different countries, youth are showing deep interest in BRI-related job opportunities. Presently the biggest challenge for youth is unemployability, and BRI is a promising project to meet these challenges.

Q: China has signed over 200 Belt and Road cooperation documents with more than 140 countries and more than 30 international organizations. What are your expectations for the future development of the BRI?

A: The future is always uncertain, but the global community is standing behind this game-changer project. So the shared experiences of development of different nations are linked together. As a youth leader this was my slogan: "Alone we can do little, Together we can do a lot". Therefore, it's my personal experience when we connect then we can easily transform through joint and well-coordinated efforts. I strongly hope the future of the BRI is great, as the intentions behind the project are impressive. I believe if your intentions are good, then actions speak for themselves.

Q: What do you think of Chinese modernization in terms of bringing peace and stability to the globe?

A: I believe the Chinese policy makes clear it does not seek hegemony or domination. Being a citizen of post-colonial Pakistan, I believe the colonial development model has paralyzed us completely. The Chinese development model is a recipe for rehabilitation for us. The Chinese development model is a way towards emancipation, and it is the opposite model compared to colonization and imperialism.

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