Staff Reporter Islamabad
Chairman CPEC Authority, Gen (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa has said that Pakistan attaches great importance to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a national project, and is ready to pay any price for its success. He stated this while talking to a delegation of senior officials and researchers of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) at the CPEC Authority’s Secretariat.
The IPS delegation comprised its Executive President Khalid Rahman, GM Operations Naufil Shahrukh, senior associates Amanullah Khan, Mirza Hamid Hasan, Dr Maliha Zeba Khan, Ambassador (r) Tajammul Altaf, Brigadier (r) Said Nazir Mohmand, and members of the Institute’s research and outreach team including Shafaq Sarfraz, Asim Ehsan, Kulsoom Belal, Wali Farooqi, Hafiz Inamullah Khan, Shahid Afzal and Maimoona Mahmood.
Briefing the delegation about the progress on CPEC, Gen (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa said that work on the eastern, western and central alignments is in full swing, and the second phase of the project is just beginning. He also rubbished the claims that work on phase one has slowed down, claiming nothing was on hold.
He was of the view that underdeveloped areas, especially southern parts of Balochistan were being given importance in CPEC; a dam and desalination plant have been built in Gwadar in a bid to resolve chronic water shortages affecting the inhabitants. An airport with the biggest runway of Pakistan worth $230 million was also being built in Gwadar.
Commenting on phase one of CPEC, the chairman of the authority said the first phase’s success depends on the second phase, which involves business-to-business and people-to-people contacts. He also said synergy among all stakeholders is required to make CPEC a success. In this regard, the Pakistan-China Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry was also being revived, he informed.
Asim Saleem Bajwa stressed the need for projecting CPEC as a regional connectivity initiative to make Pakistan emerge as an economically galvanizing state instead of security or terror-fighting state on the global spectrum. Afghan transit trade, he added, is also now being facilitated through Gwadar port.