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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal has stated that so far, 13 power generation projects with a total installed capacity of 8,020 MW and one HVDC transmission line with an evacuation capacity of 4,000 MW have achieved commercial operation.

Speaking on the occasion to mark 10-year celebrations of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the upcoming 12th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on Thursday, he said that this year marks the successful decade of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its flagship CPEC project. He added that when China launched its transcontinental enterprise, BRI, it chose Pakistan for its flagship project named, CPEC.

Over the decade, he said the two countries have developed strong bonds in diverse fields and call themselves “iron brothers”. He said that mega projects worth billions of rupees had been completed in one year which indicated the commitment of the incumbent government under the vision of the prime minister.

CPEC turns 10; commemorations next month

The people of Pakistan would never forget the contribution of the Chinese to make the CPEC successful, he added while appreciating the contribution of Chinese officials and workers to execute the CPEC from 2013 onward.

The minister said the Chinese president gave the concept of the CPEC during his visit to Pakistan and subsequently, a memorandum of understanding was signed to implement it. He said China had asked Pakistan to make a roadmap. China became the largest investor in Pakistan after three years, he added.

The achievements of CPEC are numerous and so were misconceptions and doubts about the CPEC were cleared. He said the CPEC played an important role in the development of Pakistan and there was a need to give hope to the nation again.

The minister said that under CPEC, 11,000 MW electricity was added to the system in four years of previous PML-N tenure, and Multan and Hazara Motorway was completed. The minister added that Chinese investors came to Pakistan when local investors were not ready either.

Iqbal said the government had completed the water supply for Gwadar and signed a contract of 100 MW electricity with Iran for the supply of electricity to Gwadar. He added that a lot of work had been done by the Chinese and Pakistani authorities for the success of the CPEC and common people also got employment in the CPEC projects: CPEC is the most successful project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, added the minister.

He said when the government came into power in April last year, the CPEC had been revived and several projects of power, infrastructure, water, and others had been completed in Gwadar, which were ready for the groundbreaking.

According to Planning Ministry, Secretary Ministry of Planning Development Syed Zafar Ali Shah, while speaking on the occasion, stated that despite challenges the incumbent government successfully completed the CPEC projects in one year. This showed the strong commitment of the prime minister, he remarked.

Chief Economist of Pakistan, Dr Nadeem Javaid, who is also Project Director of CPEC, highlighted the key achievements of CPEC, emphasising the immense strides made in sectors such as energy, transportation, trade facilitation, and socio-economic development.

He further recognised the valuable partnership between China and Pakistan that had enabled the successful implementation of the CPEC projects and underscored the importance of continued collaboration to sustain the momentum.

Charge de’ Affair Pang Chunxue emphasised that the China-Pakistan relationship had profound historical roots, solid public support, and strong practical needs. Under the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping, China was steadfastly advancing the process of Chinese modernisation, she added. “China will provide new opportunities for the development of countries including Pakistan, with new accomplishments in Chinese modernisation,” remarked Pang.

She further stated that “this year marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI proposed by President Xi Jinping, and the 10th anniversary of the launch of the CPEC. With the joint efforts of both sides, CPEC has achieved fruitful outcomes covering areas of industry, agriculture, IT, disaster prevention and mitigation, etc., which made significant contributions to promoting Pakistan’s economic and social development, upgrading Pakistan’s infrastructure, improving Pakistani people’s well-being, enhancing people to people contact and deepening regional connectivity.”

The event was informed, according to the Ministry of Planning so far 13 power generation projects with a total installed capacity of 8,020 MW and one HVDC transmission line with an evacuation capacity of 4,000 MW have achieved their commercial operation, while one energy project namely 884 MW Sukki-Kinari HPP is expected to be completed in July 2024.

In addition, 700.7 MW Azad Pattan Hydro Power projects, 1,124 MW Kohala, and 300 MW Gwadar Coal Power Project are in pipeline. The CPEC effectively helped Pakistan in improving the major transport networks from north to south and laid the foundation for a resilient infrastructure including ports, airports, roads and railway lines.

In the early harvest projects of CPEC, six mega infrastructure projects were completed including, Havelian-Thakot section of KKH, Multan-Sukkur (M-5) Motorway, Hakla-D I Khan Motorway, Optical Fiber Cable, Eastbay Expressway and Orange Line Metro Train. Furthermore, on western alignment of the CPEC, work on different sections is under implementation which will be completed by 2024. Since most of these highways pass through the far-flung areas of Pakistan, it has opened those areas for business which will bring prosperity.

According to the statistics, approximately 200,000 direct jobs have been created in the first phase of the CPEC development for locals including engineers. To modernise the Pakistan Railway system under CPEC, the Main Line-1 (ML-1) project is in final negotiation. This project will help in the upgradation and dualisation of 1,733 km of railway track from Peshawar to Karachi.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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