I first came to China in April 2016 with officials of the government of Balochistan, Pakistan on the invitation of the China Foundation for Peace and Development on behalf of my father. My family was among the initial people to warmly welcome the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and, in 2015, donated the land for a school in Gwadar. Gwadar is considered the heart of the CPEC, which is one of the most important corridors of China's Belt and Road Initiative. CPEC is a regional connectivity framework that will benefit both China and Pakistan and positively impact Iran, Afghanistan, the Central Asian republics and the region. Officially, CPEC began in April 2015, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan. CPEC is connecting Gwadar, a southwestern port city in Pakistan, to Kashgar, China, by land routes.
Following the inception of CPEC, the CFPD decided to build a school in Gwadar. The foundation chose to locate the school in a less-developed area in dire need of school services. Eventually, our town qualified as the best location, and the foundation requested land from the local community. My father welcomed the Chinese to build the school and donated valuable land to commence its construction. That was my first time to have direct interaction with Chinese people, and we made friends. After a few months, my father was invited to visit China, but he nominated me to go on his behalf.
I also studied Chinese language and culture for nine months at the Henan University of Technology. In the same period, I represented the Pak-China School Gwadar at the first Belt and Road Initiative summit held in Beijing in May 2017. The heads of 30 countries were present at that meeting.
After completing my study in China, I got a job opportunity in China Overseas Ports Holding Company, the Gwadar port operator since 2013. The company is playing a dynamic role in supporting the locals and the development of Gwadar. I worked for two years at the company and learned a lot from my Chinese brothers. In 2019, I got a master's scholarship from the China Scholarship Council to study at the Central China Normal University in Wuhan.
Every visit to China is unique, and I have learned a lot and made many new friends. In China, I attended several programs and activities, such as the first Belt and Road Initiative summit in 2017, a 10-day youth seminar in 2018 under the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) and volunteer work on different occasions. During this period, I learned many things about China's education system, Chinese tradition, culture and lifestyles.
The official announcement of the CPEC's Pak-China fFriendship School, was the first such initiative in Gwadar. After building the school, several other projects were began in the social sector, such as offering scholarships to local students, donating school buses, installing solar panels, and beginning the construction of the Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute and the Pak-China Friendship Hospital. In the developmental sector, Gwadar Free Zone Phase I was completed in 2018. The Gwadar East-Bay Expressway, Gwadar International Airport, and a 300-megawatt coal plant are outstanding CPEC flagship projects in Gwadar.
Through the CPEC, hundreds of dreams came true. Mine is one of them. It's an honor for my family to contribute to the CPEC. The CPEC is a collection of projects, but it positively impacts every aspect of life. After the CPEC began in 2015, the number of Pakistani students in China, culture exchanges and training programs increased year by year. The current number of Pakistani students is approximately 32,000 according to media reports. CPEC will bring prosperity, not only for China and Pakistan, but also the whole region.