CPEC expands

IN a landmark development, Pakistan and China have agreed to expand the on-going China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and with this the total financing has gone up to hefty $57b. It is all the more important that during the meeting of Joint Cooperation Committee in Beijing the two sides also agreed in principle on a number of projects, inclusion of which would enhance the investment further.
It is, perhaps, for the first time that all participants from Pakistan representing all provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan have returned home satisfied, as all projects proposed by them have been included in the CPEC framework. These include Sindh’s projects of Keti Bandar, Karachi Circular Railway and a Special Economic Zone in Dhabeji and twelve projects of far-reaching significance to Balochistan. The Sindh projects are those which remained unimplemented for decades because of lack of financial resources and even some foreign countries backed out after initial understanding. Inclusion of 12 projects of Balochistan especially those aimed at all round development of Gwadar Port have dispelled the wrong impression being created by some vested interests that smaller provinces were being left out. The agreement to include rail-based mass transit projects for all four provincial headquarters is yet another testimony of sharing of CPEC benefits equally by people living in different provinces and regions. Again Pakistan was facing major bottlenecks in initiation of work on water reservoirs and in this case Chinese willingness to include Diamer-Bhasha dam and other projects on Indus River in CPEC framework augurs well for water security, development of irrigation and increased share of cheaper hydel power in the national energy mix. Similarly, establishment of industrial zones in the four provinces, FATA, AJK, GB and the Federal Capital would herald a new era of socio-economic development. Hopefully the entire nation would work together to make the CPEC a resounding success as it has the potential to take care of most of the problems of Pakistan.

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