PAKISTAN seems to have reinvigorated its interest in implementing ongoing projects and expanding the scope of work under the historic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The renewed commitment and enthusiasm became evident after appointment of Khalid Mansoor as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC, who is instrumental, these days, to get stalled projects revived and take the bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and China under CPEC to new heights.
The practical demonstration of Pakistan’s renewed interest is two letters written by the Special Assistant to the Vice Chairman of National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) of China, urging him to remove barriers” hindering the completion of seven energy and infrastructure projects worth roughly $12 billion.
According to him, the Vice Chairman’s support had been sought for six energy schemes and one infrastructure project – Mainline-I (ML-I) of Pakistan Railways.
The cost of energy projects is $5 billion and the minimum estimated value of the ML-I scheme is $6.8 billion.
We have been emphasizing in these columns that bottlenecks should be removed with speed as delays are not only increasing the cost of the projects but also affording an opportunity to the enemies of the two countries to hatch conspiracies to derail work on important projects.
In this backdrop, it is encouraging that now Pakistan has demonstrated some flexibility with the aim of sorting out differences so that these projects move forward with desired pace.
In fact, there are reasons to believe that we lost three precious years during which various important projects were slated for completion but could not be accomplished due to our lacklustre attitude despite the fact that all the projects under the framework of CPEC carry immense significance for the economy of Pakistan.
Gwadar power plant, Karot power plant, Kohala power plant and three other energy projects as well the ML-I are facing avoidable delays for years but now, with the efforts of the Special Assistant, tangible progress is expected soon.
Khalid Mansoor has rightly pointed out that CPEC is a quid-pro-quo as Pakistan went to China to seek help to remove road and infrastructure bottlenecks and in return, China wanted road access to connect its western parts with the Gwadar port.
We hope that Prime Minister Imran Khan would take personal interest in removing the remaining bottlenecks in the way of fuller implementation of the CPEC initiative as it is a once in a century opportunity to develop the industry and agriculture of Pakistan.