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Govt to add more infrastructure projects to CPEC framework; says Communications Minister

Statement comes amid claims that no future infrastructure projects would be added to CPEC portfolio



ISLAMABAD – Dropping a strong hint on adding new infrastructure projects into multibillion dollars China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Federal Minster for Communications Murad Saeed has said that the federal government is mulling to include more infrastructure projects to the CPEC list.

The statement comes amid claims from various circles that no infrastructure projects would now be added to the CPEC portfolio and rather China and Pakistan were looking for adding new projects in industrial development, agriculture sector and socio-economic projects under the CPEC.   

It merits mention that Pakistan and China are set to sign another mega infrastructure project under the CPEC called Mainline-I Railway Project also known as ML-I. Under the multibillion dollar project, Chinese companies would upgrade Pakistan’s railway tracks from Karachi to Peshawar.

“Timely completion of CPEC projects stands among top priorities of our government and more road projects would be included in the framework. This reflects the commitment our government has accorded to the completion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” said the minister while talking to journalists here after the official launching of Clean and Green Pakistan ceremony held here at Islamabad-Murree Dual Carriageway (IMDC).

He said that countrywide Clean & Green Pakistan drive was moving ahead at a rapid pace, which aptly reflects vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan about future of Pakistan. He said the Ministry of Communications and National Highway Authority (NHA) are working hands in hands with other stakeholders to make motorways and highways network clean and green.

The Street Art Competition was also arranged along the wall of IMDC Mangla-25kms. More than 200 students from the Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi and National College of Arts Rawalpindi participated. The students expressed their deep sense of love for their culture and heroes through paintings.

Murad Saeed said as a custodian of the country’s motorways and national highways network, he was determined to make journey safe and sound and providing maximum civic amenities at the service areas at reasonable rates. He asked the media persons to join them for making the drive of Clean and Green Pakistan a success.

“We are focusing on increasing revenue of the NHA so that it can be made self-sustained that will ultimately reduce load on the national exchequer thus saving money for spending on health, education and poverty alleviation,” he said. The minister further said that timely completion of CPEC projects stands among priorities and that more road building schemes will be included in the CPEC.

In order to introduce model roads in the country, the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) has been introduced that will further be expanded on other motorways and national highways gradually.

A special shield was also presented to the federal minister for communications and postal services by the NHA chairman.

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Govt speeds up facilitation of Chinese investors to put SeZs on fast track    




China launches foreign direct investment strategy for setting up export industries in special economic zones under CPEC

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday chaired a review meeting on foreign investment in the industries being setup under the Special Economic Zones (SeZs) being developed under the multi-billion-dollar project of China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Federal Ministers Shaukat Fayyaz Tarin, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Asad Umar, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Ali Zaidi, Trade and Investment Adviser Abdul Razzaq Daud, Special Assistants Waqar Masood, Moeed Yousuf, Chairman CPEC Authority Lt. Gen. (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa and concerned senior officials attended the meeting. Governor SBP Raza Baqir joined through the video link.

The meeting was informed that the issues related to issuance of visas to the Chinese workers and officials coming under CPEC have been completely resolved while the Ministry of Interior is handling new cases on a daily-basis which has had a positive impact on the pace of CPEC projects.

A detailed briefing on the comprehensive strategy formulated by the Board of Investment for the establishment of export industries in the Special Economic Zones. The meeting was informed about the identification of potential foreign investors in various sectors in China and the incentives provided to them for direct foreign investment in Pakistan.

The meeting was also briefed on the establishment of assembly units of three major international mobile companies in Pakistan and their positive impact on local consumption and exports. A briefing was also given on the steps taken by CPEC Authority, Ministry of Industries and Production and Board of Investment to fast track the facilitation to the Chinese investors.

The Prime Minister termed the timely completion of CPEC as one of the top priorities of the government and stressed that the government was taking steps to promote investment in the export industry in the Special Economic Zone.

Exporting industries will provide employment, increase economic volume and ensure valuable foreign exchange, as well as access to the “Made in Pakistan” brand in global markets.


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Chinese envoy, railways minister upbeat about early launch of ML-I project




Sources say some issues need to be resolved for project financing

ISLAMABAD: China on Wednesday hinted at an early launch of the Main Line-I project of Pakistan Railways – the biggest ever infrastructure project of the country’s history with an estimated cost of around $6.8 billion.

Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong called on Minister for Railways Azam Swati and discussed with him the progress made on the ML-I project. The ambassador said that ML-I project would take the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to new heights and would showcase the depth of the deep-rooted bond between the two countries.

The project aims at reconstruction of the Peshawar-Karachi Railway track and enabling it to carry out trains to the speed limit of around 120 kilometers per hour. The project would be completed in three phases and would reduce Peshawar-Karachi traveling time significantly.

Once completed, the project would largely help the revival of freight trains which would later also help use the freight trains for communication of goods from Xinjiang to Gwadar Port.

According to the sources familiar with details of the meeting, significant progress has been made regarding ML-I as the two leaders discussed at length the issues related to the project. However, a source told Pakistan Today that while there are still some issues regarding the loan for the project, it is expected that the project will soon be formally launched after the approval of a loan from the Chinese banks.

The railway minister thanked the Chinese ambassador for his keen interest in the ML-I project.

The minister appreciated the services rendered by Ambassador Rong and agreed to launch the project on ML-1 at the earliest to further strengthen Pakistan-China friendship.

On the occasion, the Chinese ambassador said that ML-I would be the biggest project in the history of Pakistan and it would further strengthen Pakistan-China friendship. The ML-I project is of utmost importance to Pakistan Railways and the national economy and the Chinese partnership will change the map of railways in Pakistan, he added.

Swati said that Pakistan is grateful to the Chinese government for providing all possible assistance to Pakistan for this project.

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CPEC promoting people-to-people ties between China, Pakistan, say youth leaders




Online event lasted for two hours and thirty minutes, including an hour-long question and answer session among the 50 participants

ISLAMABAD – Several young leaders from China and Pakistan on Friday said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would take people-to-people ties between the countries to next level.

A virtual webinar titled “Future leaders in shaping Pakistan-China relations” was held in commemoration of 70 years of Pakistan-China diplomatic relations under the aegis of Pakistan-China Institute.

The conference was arranged under the Friends of Silk Road initiative to understand and facilitate bilateral youth exchanges under the CPEC as it enters its second phase. This was the first-of-its-kind bilateral dialogue aimed at engaging youth of both countries.

An illustrious panel of eight speakers, including young parliamentary leaders, Senator Qurratul Ain Marri and Senator Dr Afnanullah Khan participated in the webinar.

The keynote speakers were divided into two sessions, which were moderated by Guancha Editor Qianli Liu, while opening remarks were given by Pakistan China Institute Executive Director Mustafa Hyder Sayed.

The theme of one session was “Pakistan-China Future Cooperation: A Perspective of Young Leaders” whereas the session two was themed as “People to People Connectivity: Role of media and culture”.

Talking about youth exchanges, Qianli said that youth development does not distinguish on race, ethnicity, and religion, and so it must be taken forward.

Mustafa in his opening remarks talked about how Friends of Silk Road initiative, started in February 2019, has brought prominent members of political parties, business groups, students, civil society, members of academia and media together to enhance connectivity among the people of two countries. He highlighted that these exchanges are a fundamental pillar of Pakistan-China relations, as the bond between the two countries is rooted in their people. Moreover, he highlighted the need for the youth to expand and enhance this beautiful and inherited bilateral strategic relationship for the next 70 years. While talking about CPEC, Mustafa said that this mammoth project will engineer social equity revolution in the country.

Dr Afnan quoted China President Xi Jinping, who had emphasised the need to promote the deepened integration of internet, big data, and artificial intelligence with the real economy, and added that Pakistan needs to learn from the Chinese model to harness big data for making better-informed decisions, such as enhancing GDP growth.

Bayazeed Kasi, advisor to PTI on CPEC affairs, spoke on role of youth in building a community of shared future. Recounting his interactions with youth in Balochistan, Kasi highlighted that Pakistan’s youth is more than eager to contribute to Pak-China iron brotherhood.

However, he highlighted that as 65 per cent of Pakistan’s population consists of youth, more opportunities need to be provided to them so they can contribute towards strengthening Pakistan-China relations. He highlighted that the academia needs to train and provide a platform to the youth so they are motivated to work for the welfare of people.

He concluded by saying, “An untrained worker can never make a building and so we need to train our youth on the lines of contributing towards Pakistan-China relations.”

Similarly, other participants also shed light on the diplomatic relations between the two countries and urged the youth to contribute more towards the relations.

The online event lasted for two hours and thirty minutes, including an hour-long question and answer session among the 50 participants.

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