ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that implementation and operationalization of multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects was top priority of his government, according to a statement issued from the PM’s office.
The prime minister said this while presiding over a high-level meeting to review progress on CPEC projects and emphasized that timelines specified for the completion of CPEC projects must be adhered to.
CPEC has seen Beijing pledge over $60 billion for infrastructure projects in Pakistan, central to China’s wider Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to develop land and sea trade routes in Asia and beyond.
The corridor is designed to give China a shorter, more secure trading route, via Pakistan, besides boosting Pakistan’s economy.
Prime Minister stated that China has been a time-tested friend of Pakistan and that the Government accords high priority to implementation and operationalization of CPEC projects.
During the meeting, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on CPEC Affairs Khalid Mansoor briefed the participants about the updated status of different projects.
PM Khan highlighted that continuity of policies was essential for long-term projects in order to achieve maximum benefits for the country. “Government of Pakistan is fully committed to provisions of CPEC agreements,” he was quoted as saying.
Asad Umar meets Chinese businessmen
In a separate development, Pakistani Planning Minister Asad Umar met with representatives of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles, and leading Chinese textile companies and investors in Islamabad on Wednesday. Pakistan offered Chinese investors huge opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of the textile sector, Umar noted.
“Pakistan wishes to have [a] win-win cooperation with Chinese investors,” the minister was quoted as saying by the state-run APP news agency.
Earlies this week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that China was ready to work with Pakistan to advance development of CPEC to deliver more benefits to the Pakistani people.
The statement came in the wake of protests in the Pakistani port city of Gwadar, which lies at the heart of CPEC, over a lack of basic facilities for residents of the area.
The aim for China and Pakistan has been for Gwadar – located on the Arabian Sea near Iran and the mouth of the Arabian Gulf – to become a regional commercial, industrial and shipping hub, as part of CPEC.
Speaking at a weekly press briefing, Wenbin said CPEC had long focused on “people’s livelihood and well-being and [on] benefiting the local people.”
“China is ready to work with Pakistan to advance the high-quality development of CPEC so as to deliver more benefits to the local people,” he said. “The Gwadar Port, a leading project of CPEC, focuses on development and people’s livelihood.”
Wang said the China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School, a vocational training institute in Gwadar, and the China-Pakistan Fraternity Emergency Care Center in Gwadar, which had been completed, had “played important roles in and made China’s contributions to creating education opportunities, improving employment skills and responding to COVID-19 for the benefit of the local people.”