The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Summit and Expo 2016, opened in Islamabad on 29 August 2016, offered a platform for exchange of ideas and opened new avenues for businesses opportunities and people-to-people linkages between Pakistan and China – all-weather friends.
The CPEC will open doors to immense economic opportunities not only to Pakistan but will act as a bridge for the new Maritime Silk Route that envisages linking and eventually benefiting three billion people in Asia, Africa and Europe.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the CPEC Summit 2016 at the Pakistan-China Friendship Center in Islamabad, which is being organized by Pakistan’s Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms.
Inaugural session was attended by Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Sun Weidong, Pakistan’s Federal Minister of Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal, Chief Ministers of Pakistani provinces, diplomats, members of the parliament, academics, heads of Chinese companies investing in Pakistan, and 110 other delegates from China.
Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal, said the summit marks the completion of three years of signing of CPEC project between Pakistan and China and its main aim is to strengthen business to business relationships.
At the summit, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar called upon all the political parties and provinces to forge unity among their ranks to make the CPEC a success and transform the country into a strong, vibrant and economically self-reliant state.
CPEC is not just game but fate changer: PM Nawaz
“The CPEC is a new concept of diplomacy based on shared goals of prosperity for Pakistan and the region, and a project to eliminate poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in his address at the inaugural session of CPEC Summit and Expo.
CPEC will not only serve as a game-changer for Pakistan, but a fate-changer for entire region by helping it rid of economic deprivation and attain peace and prosperity, he said. “CPEC will guarantee development and prosperity of the residents of this region that constitute half of the world’s population.” The economic corridor will help optimize China, Pakistan as well as regional trade, energy cooperation and will benefit 3 billion people in China, South Asia and the Middle East.
More than 10 billion dollars would be spent on railway projects as well as rail infrastructure in Pakistan and around 35 billion dollars would be invested in energy sectors alone to produce 10,400MW of electricity, premier said.
CPEC has ushered Pakistan-China into new era full of opportunities: Chinese Ambassador
Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said China-Pakistan relations have now entered into a new phase of development, with ample opportunities. CPEC is a project of livelihood, which has already created tens of thousands of job opportunities for Pakistani people, he informed the audience.
“China wants to see Pakistan as a peaceful and prosperous country. Our friendship has now entered into a new stage and face with historic opportunities” H. E. Sun Weidong said.
Terming CPEC as the leader and pilot project of China’s Belt and Road initiative, Ambassador Sun said “CPEC has now entered into fully implementation and it is making smooth progress.”
Gwadar termed a Jewel project of CPEC
Speaking about at the key aspects of CPEC summit, PM Nawaz termed Gwadar as the ‘jewel project’ of CPEC which would have its own power generation, road, rail and air links while serving as a model smart port city. The premier said China would construct a highway, at a cost of $162 million, to connect the Gwadar airport – a separate project to be built at a cost of $230 million by December 2017.
CPEC would benefit all the provinces especially Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
CPEC to open new vistas of opportunities for Balochistan
Balochistan Assembly Speaker Rahila Durrani said that CPEC would open up new avenues of opportunities for the people of Balochistan. “The CPEC will contribute to the uplift of poor population of Balochistan and would help them directly reap benefits from this mega project of prosperity,” the speaker said in an interview.
The first elected woman speaker of Balochistan said the project is of particular significance for Balochistan as the province faces the challenges of water, electricity and infrastructure.
CPEC western route projects to be completed by December 2016
The work on projects of western route of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is continuing rapidly and would be completed by December 2016, an official said. Data released by Planning Commission of Pakistan states that 335 km long Khunjerab to Raikot road is complete and the feasibility study of 270 km Raikot to Thakot road has been done. Work is continuing on Burhan-Havelian expressway, 280km long Burhan-Dera Ismail Khan road, 124km DI Khan-Mughalkot road, 81 km Zhob-Mughalkot road, 454km Khushab-Saryab road and 193 km Khushab-Gwadar road.
Key aspects of CPEC revealed at CPEC Summit 2016
According to the long-term plan for the period 2025-30, key areas and major projects of CPEC include development of an integrated transport system, IT connectivity, energy cooperation, industrial parks, agricultural development and poverty alleviation. Whereas livelihood, water resources, livestock, people-to-people communications and financial matters are other areas of cooperation.
These are the key aspects of CPEC according to a project fact book unveiled at the summit:
- All the priority projects listed under CPEC would become operational in the next four years set to be completed by 2018. Some of the projects commissioned in 2020.
- 14 early harvest energy projects which would be completed in March 2018 and would be in a position to generate 10,400 megawatts of electricity.
- The $1.5 billion Engro Surface Mine in Block-II project, the $1.3 billion worth Sino-Sindh Coal mine Thar project, the $1.94 billion Hubco Coal-based power project and the $2 billion Engro Thar coal-fired power plant are scheduled to become operational after 2018.
- The $1.8 billion Suki Kinari power plant (870 MW of electricity), the $1.42 billion Karot hydropower project (720 MW) and the $3 billion Matiari-Lahore Power Transmission line project, transmit 4,000 MW of electricity, to become operational by 2020.
- The USD 46 billion CPEC is a series of projects that will connect China’s Xinjiang province to Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan with rail, road, pipelines and optical cable fiber network.