The Parliamentary Committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was briefed by the Ministry of Power regarding the Early Harvest energy projects which are on track.
The Thar coal project would be operational by June 2019 based on mining of indigenous coal from Thar. The Port Qasim power project would be completed by February 2018 while the other projects including the Hubco 1320 MW project and two hydro power projects in Sukki Kinari (870 MW) and Karot (720 MW) are proceeding ahead as scheduled.
CPEC Long Term Plan
The Parliamentary Committee on CPEC met under the chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed. The Minister for Planning & Development, Ahsan Iqbal gave a briefing to the Members of the Committee regarding the Long Term Plan of CPEC which was agreed at the last meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on November 21, 2017 in Islamabad.
Ahsan Iqbal said that this plan was approved after an 18-month long consultation process and it was shared with all the provinces and endorsed before it was sent to China and now it is an official document of the CPEC.
CPEC Project Portfolio
During his briefing, the Minister of Planning and Development said that agriculture, poverty alleviation, tourism & culture and improvement in people’s livelihood had been added in the CPEC profile for the future to ensure the wellbeing of the local communities.
Agricultural research would be undertaken so that agricultural products could be supported with modern technology from China. Since Chinese tourists are increasing in large numbers, it was decided to promote tourism projects with new tourists resorts at the Makran coast and there will be also encouragement of people to people exchanges between Pakistan and China within the framework of culture and education.
In January 2018, a delegation of Pakistan’s exporters would go to China to enhance Pakistan’s export potential and this delegation is being facilitated by the Government of Pakistan. During the current JCC meeting, the Minister briefed the Committee that all the Chief Ministers as well as representatives of Chambers of Commerce and Industry were present.
Gwadar Airport and Other Projects
He also informed that the groundbreaking of Gwadar International Airport will be done in March 2018.
The meeting was informed that contrary to the speculation in the media, the reports of shelving three infrastructure projects is not correct, rather, the Chinese are reviewing the financial mechanism of these projects and these would be started upon receipt of approval from the Chinese side.
The Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project has been approved as CPEC project while similar projects for Quetta and Peshawar will be reviewed upon receiving technical feasibility reports of the project.
The Committee expressed satisfaction with the progress of the Early Harvest Projects as well as the development of the Gwadar Port. The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain welcomed the inclusion of agriculture sector in CPEC since agriculture is the backbone of the Pakistan economy, and he said this will give boost to the economy and also provide Pakistan’s farmers with the latest technology in collaboration with China. He also welcomed the inclusion of Tourism and Culture, adding that the portfolio has been broadened to include these key elements of promoting people-to-people understanding.