ISLAMABAD: No changes have been made in the route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal Wednesday.
Criticising political point-scoring over the mega project, he said that some sections are carrying forward a malicious campaign aimed at creating ambiguities about this game changing project.
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“After clarification from the Chinese Embassy, there should not be any ambiguity over this issue,” he said in a statement issued here.
The minister said that during the CPEC Summit, held on August 29, all chief ministers expressed support to the project.
In the concluding session of the 5th Joint Cooperation Committee of CPEC, China and Pakistan had developed a consensus on the principle of ‘one corridor with multiple passages’ for CPEC transport planning aimed at benefiting the socio-economic development of Pakistan, especially the western and north-western regions and providing effective connectivity to Gwadar Port.
Iqbal said that work on the western corridor was progressing in full swing and reaffirmed that the route would be completed by 2018. He said that the 650km long Gwadar-Quetta section of the western route would be completed by December 2016, adding that after the route was operational Gwadar would be connected with not only Quetta but also Afghanistan.
The completion of the western route would bring a new era of development and prosperity for the people living in the underdeveloped areas, said the minister. He said that construction work on the 285km DI Khan-Hakla motorway has already commenced.
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The completion of N-85 and M-8 highway projects by December 2016, which also forms part of the western corridor alignment, will establish connectivity of Gwadar to the national highway network.
The M-8 section of Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab (193 Km) has already been completed. M-8 project was approved in March, 1999 and N-85 in 2007 but these road projects remained incomplete till the pace of work on these projects was fast tracked by the present government from 2013 onwards.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2016.
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