ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Wednesday that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was Pakistan’s strategic economic initiative that had attracted the world in general and regional countries in particular.
“CPEC has changed the negative security narrative into an exceedingly positive economic narrative for Pakistan,” he said while chairing a meeting held to review progress on the corridor.
He said the successful implementation of projects under the CPEC was a manifestation of the friendship between Pakistan and China and its success had been substantiated by massive foreign investment in the country.
The prime minister said there was a compelling reason for international investors to invest in Pakistan because of the success story of CPEC initiatives.
The meeting reviewed the benchmarks set for numerous energy, transport infrastructure and industrial projects. It also discussed the deliverables with particular focus on development of Gwadar port along with socio-economic uplift projects in the area.
The prime minister said China had helped Pakistan in its economic revival at a crucial juncture.
The meeting was informed that energy projects under the CPEC, including coal, hydroelectric, wind and solar power, as well as transmission lines were on track. Besides the infrastructure projects, including road, rail and aviation and data connectivity schemes are being executed simultaneously on a fast track basis.
The meeting was informed that early harvest projects under the CPEC would be completed by 2017-18.
It deliberated on the multiple passages of the CPEC across the country and the prime minister reiterated that no territory would be left behind in reaping the benefits.
The meeting took a significant overview of the Gwadar East Bay expressway; new international airport; freshwater treatment, supply and distribution; technical and vocational institute; Pak-China friendship hospital; free zone and Smart Port City Master Plan projects.
It was emphasised that the local population be given priority while giving incentives for industries.
The participants were apprised of recent developments to boost industrial cooperation with China.
The meeting was also briefed on the steps in place for the safety and security of the Chinese working on the CPEC projects.
Energy, transport infrastructure and industrial cooperation in the long term was also reviewed.
“Our endeavours have started yielding substantive results,” the prime minister said.
He said projects under CPEC had provided an impetus to the energy roadmap of the country.
The prime minister said during another meeting that all areas of the country would be connected with six- and four-lane motorways, depending on the load of traffic.
The meeting was informed that an investment of Rs1,000 billion had been made by the present government for construction of a modern road network.
Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2016