Islamabad: The senior officials of Pakistan and China discussed the possibility of extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan in order to promote economic development and prosperity in the war-ravaged country, local media reported.
The idea to extend the flagship programme of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was discussed during a meeting between China’s special envoy on Afghanistan Yue Xiaoyong and Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood at the Foreign Office in Islamabad, The Express Tribune reported.
An official statement said the two sides exchanged views on the political and security situation in Afghanistan, humanitarian assistance by Pakistan and China to Afghanistan, and other matters of mutual interest.
“In the context of regional connectivity, both sides exchanged views on extension of CPEC to Afghanistan to promote economic development and prosperity,” read the statement, Express Tribune reported.
The foreign secretary underscored Pakistan’s commitment to a peaceful, stable, prosperous and connected Afghanistan. He highlighted the provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan including Pakistan’s relief efforts in the wake of devastating earthquake in eastern Afghanistan on June 22.
The foreign secretary also stressed the importance of de-freezing of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves and facilitation of banking operations to ease the economic hardships of the Afghan people and help build a sustainable economy.
The foreign secretary further underlined the importance for the Afghan side to address the international community’s expectations regarding inclusivity; respect for the rights of all Afghans, including girls’ education; and effective counter-terrorism measures.
He underscored that the international community’s focus should not be diverted from the dire situation in Afghanistan owing to events taking place elsewhere.