Provinces are actively cooperating on CPEC: Iqbal

Staff Report
Saturday - January 27, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, in a statement on Friday, said that the broad consensus amongst the federating units has provided an opportunity to expedite China Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) projects and ensure its successful completion.

“All the provinces are fully onboard and eager to pluck the fruits of CPEC,” minister said, while responding to CPEC special committee reports in senate.

He said that provincial leadership is fully contributing in decision making process, since the launch of the multi-billion project, irrespective of their political affiliation.

“Provincial chief ministers and their teams have ensured their full participation in joint working groups and joint cooperation committee of CPEC, a manifestation of government’s will to guarantee transparency, inclusiveness, national cohesion and sense of equality,” Iqbal said and added that CPEC a project of inclusive development in Pakistan, undoubtedly, offers huge dividends for the provinces and regions countrywide, opening new avenues of opportunities for people.

The transport infrastructure projects of CPEC will give a boost to economic activities in far flung areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Balochistan and Sindh, thus will help in emergence of new urban and economic centers, he added.

“Economic activities at smaller level starts cropping up in the form of huts, hotels and new markets on roadside to cater the needs of traffic once completed,” Iqbal highlighted.

He underlined that CPEC’s western route project, approved by all parties’ conference (APC) held on May 28th, 2015, is under execution as decided by the national leadership.

Iqbal said that a number of provincial infrastructure projects such as Mirpur Mansehra road, Nokundi Mashkhel Panjgur road and Gilgit Chitral Chakdara as well as development of Keti Bandar port have been included in CPEC, which will further enhance connectivity.

He added that under CPEC, circular railway projects are being implemented in all the four provincial capitals.

Iqbal said that CPEC’s proposed special economic zones (SEZs) in the provinces will attract investment from different sectors, thus will boost the overall economic status of provinces.

SEZs will help in creation of thousands of jobs for local youth, he added. “Government is planning two to three road shows in China to attract investors to ensure early population of these SEZs,” Iqbal told the senate.

“This cooperation will be completed by 2025 and is open for all investors,” minister informed.

He highlighted that the 820 kilometers (kms) long fiber optic that passes through Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and KP to connect Rawalpindi and Khunjrab is planned to be completed this year.

“The project will not only turn the trade corridor into a digital corridor but will also bring a boom to the information technology (IT) industry,” Iqbal said and added, government was able to attract five billion dollars to explore Thar coal resources for the first time in the history of Pakistan.

“China has proved to be a trustworthy friend by investing and completing mega energy projects in that helped in overcoming energy crisis,” he claimed.

“All the power plants meet international environmental standards as it is based on new and super critical technology power plants”, he highlighted.