Belt and Road in the eyes of a Pakistani professor

Photo taken on Sept. 6, 2021 shows a view of the Lahore Converter Station of the ±660kV Matiari-Lahore high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on the outskirts of Lahore, in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province. (State Grid Corporation of China/Handout via Xinhua)

NANJING, June 8 (Xinhua) — Before coming to China, Shabir Mohsin Hashmi knew little about the country. Now, the 47-year-old Pakistani not only has a family here but has also become an ambassador for the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

In 2006, Hashmi got a chance to study abroad. There were five countries to choose from. “I knew China and Pakistan are in a good relationship, so I put China as my first choice.” Eventually, he came to Shanghai University of Finance and Economics to pursue a doctorate.

Hashmi still remembers vividly the day he arrived in Shanghai. “I was wearing a T-shirt because it was hot in Pakistan. But it was windy in Shanghai and quite chilly.”

Settling into a new place is not always pleasant but Hashmi has found his own fun. With the help of his Chinese teachers, Hashmi improved his understanding of the global economy and progressed in his academic study. Later, he earned his doctoral degree and applied to continue his postdoctoral research in China.

In 2013, Hashmi joined Jinan University in south China’s Guangdong Province. It was in the same year that China put forward the Belt and Road Initiative. Since then, the BRI has gradually become an important direction of Hashmi’s academic research.

In 2018, Hashmi started to work at the School of Economics and Management, Yancheng Institute of Technology as a professor. He now also serves as director of the BRI research center under the institute.

Hashmi considered the BRI as a project of global significance. Noting that the BRI not only benefits China but also extends to the entire world, he believes the BRI is instrumental in helping improve infrastructure, particularly for the developing countries. “It can also help alleviate poverty and create millions of jobs in those areas.”

Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the BRI, China is assisting Pakistan with a number of projects including energy, transportation, communication, and other infrastructure construction. “The CPEC is a manifestation of the good relationship between China and Pakistan,” Hashmi said.

As an academic, Hashmi has always been concerned about students and teachers in China and Pakistan. In 2019, during a visit to his family in Pakistan, he invited some Chinese students to dinner, and helped belt and road initiative them solve problems they were facing.

China is my second home and I love China, its people, and its culture, Hashmi said.

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