CPEC to benefit 3b people thru enhanced connectivity

Islamabad—China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a trans-regional project, would benefit three billion people of the region through enhanced regional connectivity with Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces of the country to play instrumental role integrating the whole region.
It is a 15 years long project to be completed in 2030 with special focus on infrastructure development, Gwadar Sea Port, Energy and Industrial Cooperation. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to China in 2013. The ground breaking and launching of the projects under CPEC were held during the recent visit of Chinese President, Xi Jinping to Pakistan.
According to Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Prof Ahsan Iqbal, the CPEC is a fusion of Vision-2025 of Pakistan and China’s One Road-One Belt’ for future growth and development.
The initial investment worth US$ 46 billion would be primarily used for developing the infrastructure and producing energy. US$ 35 billion would be utilized for energy, and the rest for developing the infrastructure. Energy projects worth $11.5 billion are for Sindh, US$ 7.1 billion for Balochistan, and the Punjab is the third with a share of US$ 6.9 billion. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa potential lies in hydel, and multiple investments are being made in the construction of dams there, which takes longer to complete. Chairman, CPEC, Maj Gen. Zahir Shah said railway tracks, oil pipeline, optic fiber and road infrastructure would be built between China and Pakistan under CPEC for the economic growth of both the countries.
The first phase of CPEC projects would be completed by 2017-18, second by 2020 and the third by 2030. Three universities in FATA, Zhob and Gwadar, located on CPEC Western route will start functioning this year. Maj Gen. Zahir Shah said early harvest energy and transport infrastructure projects would also be completed under the CPEC initiative to boost the economy. CPEC Western Route would link Gwadar with Turbat, Panjgur, Baseema, Zohrab, Kallat, Quetta, Qila Saifullah, Zhob, Dera Ismail Khan, Islamabad and then Peshawar. Central Line would be from Gwadar to Baseema, Khuzdar, Sukkur, Rajanpur, Muzaffargar, Bakhar, Dera Ismail Khan and then Peshawar.
The Eastern Line would be from Baseema to Khuzdar, Sukkur, Dera Ismail Khan, Lahore, Islamabad and Faisalabad. Western route is Khunjrab, Gilgit, Bisham, Abbotabad, DI Khan, Zhob, Quetta and Gwadar. Talking to APP, Head of Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), Amir Rana said MoU signed between the two countries clearly indicates that the CPEC initiative would cover whole of Pakistan including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Chinese investors, companies and financial institutions are stakeholders while Pakistan’s government is the guarantor, he added. Amir Rana said, in the first phase, the road connectivity would be completed to interconnect all the provinces, adding, building CPEC needs to be based on scientific research and designed by short, mid and long-term planning.
He said seven free economic zones would be made along the CPEC route and respective provincial governments should identify sites for these economic zones instead of politicising the entire initiative. Executive Director, Pakistan Council on China, Dr. Fazal said the CPEC initiative would bring benefits to the peoples of all the provinces including KPK. He informed that Attabad-Havalian road is the main artery of CPEC route and the provincial government of KPK should propose different projects after carrying out a feasibility study in this regard. Dr. Fazal said the KPK government should work for the development of province and exercise its rights under 18th amendment.
He said after the completion of first phase, hydel power projects, dry ports and special economic zones would be established in KPK under CPEC initiative. A joint Pak-China Working Group would be established to decide and identify Industrial zones along with CPEC in consultation with all the provinces for their benefit. The new Gwadar airport is part of CPEC and its construction work was expected to start by mid 2016. Sukkur to Gwadar and Karachi to Gwadar railway lines were also included in the long-term plan of CPEC.
The western route, through construction of missing links on it would provide the safest and shortest passage of cargo from Gwadar Seaport to upcountry for their onward movement to China’s western provinces. According to Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan and China are working closely and wholeheartedly to implement the CPEC projects in the speediest manner.
Both sides are in constant touch through forums under the CPEC framework and are moving ahead smoothly and promptly to complete the projects. There is unanimity in file and ranks of Pakistani society that the CPEC is a historical opportunity for sustained economic development and inclusive prosperity of the country. Pakistan’s political leadership, civilian government and military leadership, time and again, have demonstrated their commitment to the completion of CPEC.
They are all on the same page for a bigger national cause,’ Ahsan Iqbal said and added that declarations of two All Parties Conferences (APCs) on the CPEC bore testimony to that fact. A GEO Spatial Technology Cell has been set up to help application of infrastructure planning and economic development on the scientific basis. —APP

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