ISLAMABAD: China has said that there was no slowing down of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it was laid on a solid foundation and the multi-billion dollar project had entered a new phase.
“CPEC is running according to our satisfaction and there is no slowdown in it,” Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said during his keynote address at a seminar titled “Friends of Silk Road” organised by Pakistan-China Institute in the federal capital on September 29.
The envoy said that in the new phase, the Chinese government was working very closely with the Pakistani government and had identified three key areas to promote CPEC.
'CPEC projects completed or near completion'
The first one was the establishment of special economic zone with focus on Rashakai where preference would be given to private and agriculture sector.
Secondly, a special agricultural expo would be organised in late October in Islamabad and Lahore with a focus on fisheries.
Thirdly, the development of social sector in which 27 projects in six areas were being fast tracked.
Minister for Planning and Development Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar announced that Pakistan-China Business Council and CPEC Authority were being established “to push CPEC forward”.
The planning minister maintained that the financial affairs of ML-1 project for the upgradation of 1700 kilometre Railway Line from Peshawar to Karachi were being finalised and a memorandum on it would be signed soon.
He said that the $8.3 billion rail project would be taken to the CPEC Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) at its meeting in November.
Bakhtyar said that CPEC was above any political divide and there was national consensus on it.
The minister observed that 80% of electricity would be generated by CPEC energy projects and that legal framework of Gwadar Free Trade Zone was ready.
He informed the gathering that Rashakai special economic zone would start by the end of October.
Cabinet poised to approve CPEC Authority ordinance
Bakhtyar announced that Pakistan-China Business Council and CPEC Authority were being established “to push CPEC forward”.
He thanked the Chinese government for supporting the issue of Kashmir.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed noted that CPEC was a success story because of the strong and unshakeable framework of Pakistan-China relations.
Recounting the benefits of the multi-billion dollar project, the senator said that CPEC had given a new hope and confidence to the people of Pakistan, improved the image of the country as an investment-friendly destination, revived projects like Gwadar Port and Thar Coal, strengthened the federation through physical connectivity, gave Pakistan strategic space both in regional and world politics and provided employment to 70,000 Pakistanis and 20,000 scholarships to Pakistani students during the next three years.