ISLAMABAD: China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects are progressing as per their schedules, while the government is expediting uplifts of Gwadar port for its significance in cross-regional connectivity, a ministry’s spokesman said on Saturday.
The spokesman of the ministry of planning, development and reform said there are no delays in implementation of CPEC projects.
“None of the CPEC projects is facing delay rather Pakistan and China are agreed on the future trajectory of the CPEC and timely completion of its on-going projects,” the spokesman said in a statement.
The ministry’s official said the eighth joint cooperation committee meeting laid foundation for the “expansion of CPEC to new heights”.
“For future, joint efforts are underway, focusing on socioeconomic development and accelerating cooperation in industrial development as well as agriculture.” China and Pakistan have signed memoranda of understanding on the formation of the joint working group on socioeconomic development and poverty reduction.
Chinese socioeconomic development expert team visit is planned during end of the current month to finalise the projects and its sites in already agreed six different areas, including health, education, water supply, vocational training, poverty alleviation and agriculture.
“Recognising the significance of Gwadar as an important node in cross-regional connectivity and the central pillar of CPEC, Pakistan and China are agreed to speed up progress on the port and its auxiliary projects,” the ministry’s spokesman said.
Groundbreaking of new Gwadar Airport, vocational institute and hospital are planned till end of March. Gwadar master plan is being prepared and it is in the final stages of formulation. The ministry’s official said huge investment is expected in the petrochemical sector in Gwadar. Pakistan and China have expedited work on industrial cooperation under CPEC and “the government has fast-tracked development of economic zones by prioritising Rashakai, Dhabajhi Faisalabad and ICT (information and communication technology) SEZs (special economic zones)”.
Pakistan and China have expedited cooperation in the field of agriculture with a special focus on enhancing cooperation in the areas of climate change, desertification control, desalination, water management, afforestation and ecological restoration, wetland protection and restoration, wildlife protection, forestry industry development, disaster management and risk reduction, and other areas of mutual interest.
“A sub group has been elevated to a full-fledged joint working group and its meeting is planned to be held in the first quarter of this year,” the ministry’s spokesman said.
“Government promotes development of hydro energy projects and more projects based on indigenous sources are being added to CPEC portfolio.” The official said process has been initiated to prepare an integrated plan in line with SEZs development aimed at facilitating logistics and transportation for the zones.
The government decided to complete modalities for all-weather opening of Karakoram highway in Khunjrab. China and Pakistan are also firming up designs and scope of Karachi–Peshawar railway line, also known as Main Line 1.
The spokesman said the government prioritised implementation of western route project with a focus to expedite development of Dera Ismail Khan-Zhob and Zhob-Quetta sections to ensure uplift of less-developed areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
The completion of two early projects of CPEC: Peshawar-Karachi Motorway (Multan-Sukkur) and KKH Phase II (Thakot -Havelian) are planned in August 2019 and March 2020, respectively “but both the projects are expected to be completed ahead of their schedule,” the planning ministry’s spokesman added.