Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif received a warm welcome on Friday upon his arrival in the Chinese capital on a three-day visit, which, he said, is aimed at delivering the nation from the scourge of power crisis.
“I am going to China to save my people from another load-shedding-ridden atrocious summer,” the premier said, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister House ahead of his departure to the friendly country.
“Despite the damage done in the past two months due to political turmoil, we will make up for the loss come what may,” Nawaz is quoted as saying.
According to the handout, energy is vitally important for the economy and this has remained on top of the prime minister’s agenda, ever since he assumed power in June last year.
“The prime minister’s visit to China would help in ushering a new era of development, prosperity and generating employment opportunities in the country,” it added.
During his stay, the prime minister will hold bilateral meetings with the top Chinese leadership, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.
Nawaz will also represent Pakistan at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Summit, in which leaders of Myanmar, Laos, Mongolia, Cambodia, Tajikistan and Bangladesh are also participating.
Both the countries are set to sign multiple agreements to construct roads, railways and other infrastructure development projects at an estimated cost of around $4 billion.
Premier Nawaz will also sign an agreement to construct 440km KKH II Raikot-Islamabad section, Karachi-Lahore Motorway, Havelian Dry Port, Orange Line Project of Lahore, Cross Border Optical Fiber Cable and Hari-Ruba Economic Zone, Sino Hydro Resource Limited and Al Mirqab Capital.
The visit, aimed at attracting an investment of over $46 billion, has a special significance and is apparently an effort to control the damage done to the country’s economy by the opposition parties’ sit-ins in Islamabad.
Chinese President Xi Jinping had to cancel his visit to Pakistan due to the protest sit-ins and consequently the country had to endure losses to the tune of billions of rupees.
According to the handout, the over 21 projects – to be completed with the help of China – for generating 16,520MW power at an estimated cost of around $33 billion would bring substantial improvement in all sectors of economy after completion.
The important projects to be completed with the Chinese help include 1320MW Sino Hydro Resource Project, two 660MW Sahiwal Coal Fired Projects, 2,330MW Engro Thar Coal Fired Project, 1320MW each Muzaffargarh Coal Power, Rahim Yar Khan, SSRL Thar Coal Projects and Thar Mine Mouth Oracle Projects.
Other big projects include 1,000MW SSRL Thar Coal Block 6, 2,640MW Gaddani Power Park Project, 300MW Gwadar Coal, 100MW Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, 50MW Dawood Wind Farm, 100MW UEP Wind Farm, 50MW Sachal Wind Farm, 50MW Sunnec Wind Farm, 870MW Suki Kinari Hydropower Station,720MW Karot Hydropower Station among others.
The handout claimed that with Chinese investment, the country’s economy is set to take off and flourish to generate numerous employment opportunities for the people of Pakistan, especially the youth.
The prime minister’s entourage comprises Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal and Special Assistant to PM Syed Tariq Fatemi.
Complete list of the agreements can be viewed here: List A and List B.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2014.
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