ISLAMABAD: While reiterating their commitment to facilitating and extending support for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), provincial governments have sought additional investments in their respective regions under the $46-billion flagship project.
Speaking at the CPEC Summit in Islamabad, chief ministers of Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Gilgit-Baltistan and prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir assured the audience of their support to the CPEC and urged Chinese authorities and the federal government to focus more on the provinces in stimulating investments.
Balochistan Chief Minister Sardar Sanaullah Zehri and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif did not attend the summit.
K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said as the province was a significant part of the CPEC, it had paved the way for caravans heading to Central Asia, Russia and beyond for several years.
“Peshawar will soon be transformed into a major hub for transportation, logistics, warehousing, financial services and trade servicing stretching from the port of Gwadar to neighbouring countries.”
According to Khattak, the K-P government has set up an apex CPEC task force and advisory committee comprising eminent professionals, civil servants and businessmen that is responsible for coordinating with the federal government on all CPEC issues.
He shared that the K-P government had succeeded in attracting big Chinese companies for developing infrastructure in the province. He pointed out that work had already commenced on the feasibility study for the Peshawar-Nowshera-Mardan and Swabi-Charsadda inter-district circular railway line in collaboration with China Communication Construction Company.
Simultaneously, the provincial government is rolling out new airports, helping transfer labour-intensive surplus industrial capacity from China and developing new industrial zones across the province.
He insisted that the province had the potential to establish industrial zones along the CPEC route and produce thousands of megawatts of hydroelectric power.
“I want to send this message to businessmen of China and Pakistan and indeed to the world that K-P is open for investment,” he announced. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said CPEC projects in the province were crucial for the development of certain key areas, mainly the Thar coal power project and Sukkur-Multan motorway.
“The provincial government is fully facilitating the execution of these projects,” said Shah.
He was of the view that the CPEC-sponsored Thar coal power project would help the country in addressing the energy shortage.
The Sindh government is also working on enhancing the capacity of Sindh Bank with the help of Chinese financial institutions to meet private-sector investment needs.
Shah was optimistic that the establishment of economic zones along the CPEC route would generate opportunities for people in the province to improve their socio-economic conditions.
The chief minister also mentioned that besides the facilities and support, the provincial government was fully committed to providing a comprehensive security cover for the CPEC projects and for that purpose 2,000 retired army personnel were being recruited.
Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rahman also reiterated his government’s commitment and said the region had a significant role to play in the CPEC due to its location.
He said his government had acquired land for establishing economic zones under the CPEC. He also sought inclusion of 4,500MW Diamer-Bhasha dam and power project and 7,000MW Bunji hydroelectric power project in the CPEC.
Courtesy : Express Tribune