The Parliamentary Committee on CPEC met today under the chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed. This was the 20th meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC and it received a detailed and comprehensive briefing by Minister for Planning, Ahsan Iqbal on the recently concluded 6th meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) in Beijing on December 28-29, 2016, which was attended by Chief Ministers of KPK, Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.
During the briefing, Ahsan Iqbal said that they have achieved total consensus among the provinces as to the way forward on CPEC where Bhasha Dam would also be part of the CPEC and he said that 11000 MW of electricity would be added to the national grid by 2018, 5000 MW under CPEC and 5000 MW under non-CPEC projects and he said that this was the biggest energy investment in the history of Pakistan.
Ahsan Iqbal told the committee that the for the first time, Thar coal which had a huge capacity would be used for electricity for the next 400 years and there were two transmission lines being installed between Matiari-Lahore and Matiari-Faisalabad which would evacuate electricity from south and will be connected to the national grid benefiting all parts of Pakistan.
Additionally, there was agreement on giving priority, construction of the Western route of CPEC as well as up-gradation and dualization of Karachi-Torkham railway line at a cost of $ 8 billion. This would be the biggest railway modernization project in the history of Pakistan.
The Minister informed the Parliamentary Committee that industrial zones proposed by the provinces as well as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan had been accepted and proper feasibility would be carried out as well as the proposal by Sind government for an additional port at Ketti Bandar. He said that all four provincial capitals, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar would have rail-based mass transit system as part of CPEC. He added that the November 13 Kashgar-Gwadar karvan that had carried goods from Kashgar to Gwadar had traveled on the Western route and he said that the establishment of this road link had slashed the travel distance from Quetta to Gwadar from 2 days to 8 hours.