ISLAMABAD: Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Yao Jing has ruled out any slumps in the projects under the CPEC. He told that they [projects] were to get a new push. “There is no slowdown of CPEC as its foundation is solid and the course is set for the start of a new stage of CPEC,” Yao expressed in his address at the Friends of Silk Road seminar organised by the Pakistan-China Institute.
Planning Development and Reform Federal Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar was the guest of honour at the seminar with various scholars, former politicians and representatives of Chinese companies in attendance. Yao informed the attendees of the close cooperation between the two governments and that they had identified three key areas to promote the CPEC. “These include Special Economic Zones with focus on Rashakai and preference will be given to the private sector, agriculture and a special agricultural expo will be organised later in October in Islamabad and Lahore, with a focus on fisheries,” he said, as reported.
The third area is social sector development. Twenty-seven projects in six areas are being expedited courtesy the $1 billion grant of the Chinese government. Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar informed of the government’s decision on the ML-1 mega project for Pakistan Railways. The go-ahead has been given and it will be the biggest modernisation of Pakistan Railway since independence. The project entails dualisation and up-gradation of railway tracks from Peshawar to Karachi.
He also announced that the legal framework of the Gwadar Free Trade Zone is ready. He also informed that a Pakistan-China Business Council is being established and a governing body – CPEC Authority – will be formed to streamline the decisions related to CPEC.