THE commitments made by a number of Chinese companies to make substantial investment in different sectors of Pakistan’s economy on the very first day of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Beijing put a seal on demands for ‘Look China’ policy , which are made, time and again, by the ardent supporters of Pakistan-China friendship.
Though the visit of the Prime Minister was necessarily in connection with the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, being hosted by China, his meetings with heads and representatives of a number of prominent Chinese companies blossomed into concrete commitments about much-needed investment.
It is mainly because of the economic dimensions of the China-Pak relationship that some foreign powers conspired to stir up trouble in Balochistan with the help of some local collaborators as part of their designs to scuttle the path of progress and development chosen by people of Pakistan.
However, undeterred by the latest developments, the Chinese companies expressed their enthusiasm for undertaking different projects in Pakistan and the significance of the understanding can be gauged by the fact that only one project – low carbon recycling park for steel metal and paper processing for export purposes at Gwadar Free Zone – envisages an investment of $4.5 billion in two to three years, generating 40,000 job opportunities.
China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), a subsidiary of Sinomach, will set up Pakistan-China Agricultural Science and Technology Transferring Centre on a government-to-government aid basis, which will offer agricultural mechanization cooperation for improving the yield of various crops and quality of seeds.
The company has also expressed interest in establishing an onshore LNG storage facility with a re-gasification terminal that is expected to go a long way in addressing the growing shortage of gas in the country.
There seems to be a major thrust on investment in the food and agriculture sector as per the vision of the leadership of the two countries to intensify collaboration in the field under the second phase of the CPEC.
Zhengbang Group has signed an MoU with Fauji Fertilisers Company (FFC) for the production of pesticides and cattle and poultry feed besides plan to jointly develop corporate farming for growing corn and soya beans for export purposes.
Royal Group plans to set up a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) free dairy buffalo farm project with an investment of $50 million.
The group envisages developing four large scale buffalo farms for 16 million litres annual milk production capacity and a buffalo milk deep processing plant with an investment of $30 million.
A company would establish a special economic zone of world standards value-added apparel including a cluster of supply chains with an investment of $250 million that would produce exports of $400 million annually and employ 20,000 people.
At an investment of $3.5 billion, Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone (KCCDZ) would create thousands of job opportunities and emerge as a hub for tourism, IT, fashion, media, finance, ports and shipping services.
Another important project that is expected to play a critical role in the economic development of the country seeks to lay an optical fibre cable network of around 100,000 kilometres in all major cities of Pakistan with an investment of $2 billion.
The Global Semiconductor Group plans to establish a semiconductor testing facility in addition to a research and development and skills development training centre with an investment of $40 million which is expected to employ 100,000 IT professionals.
All this show “sky is the limit” when it comes to expansion of Pakistan-China economic collaboration.
These are not paper dreams as Chinese have the demonstrated capability and resolve to deliver on their promises and commitments as we have witnessed in the case of fast-pace implementation of a number of energy and infrastructure projects under the first phase of the CPEC that have started contributing their share to the national economy.
It is because of the huge benefits of cooperative relationship with China for people of Pakistan that the enemy is trying to derail the process.
The opportunity is definitely there to embark on a fast track path of progress and prosperity but it depends on the level of political commitment and our capability and capacity to translate these plans into actual projects.
There is also need to take foolproof and comprehensive measures to boost security of foreign investors and their projects in the backdrop of intensified wave of foreign-sponsored terrorism.