Minister Directs to Speed Up Implementation of ML-1 and KCR

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has directed officials to remove bottlenecks and expedite the implementation of Main Line-1 (ML-1) and the Karachi Circular Railway (KC) projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The planning minister reviewed the progress of the CPEC projects on Tuesday, after the 11th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting held last month and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent visit to China, while directing the concerned stakeholders to expedite the implementation of the consensus reached between the leaderships of Pakistan and China.

The 11th JCC was held last month, co-chaired by the planning minister and the Vice Chairman National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China Lin Nianxiu, in which both sides agreed to accelerate CPEC projects, and several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed during Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s recent visit to China.

During the meeting, the conveners of the Joint Working Groups (JWGs) on energy, transport infrastructure, Gwadar, socio-economic development, security, long-term planning of CPEC, industrial cooperation, international cooperation, science and technology, and agriculture cooperation apprised the minister of the progress since the JCC took place.

The minister directed the officials to expedite the implementation of the ML-1 and KCR projects, which were agreed upon in the 11th JCC, and remove all bottlenecks in this regard.

The minister also directed the Embassy of Pakistan in China to hold a meeting with the Chinese side to follow up on decisions taken in the 11th JCC and during the PM’s visit to China. He also asked the Embassy of Pakistan in China to arrange an online meeting with the Vice Chairman of NDRC, to review the progress of CPEC projects.

The minister said that the CPEC is a vital national project that has transformed the relationship between the two countries into a strong economic partnership. He added that the next phase of CPEC envisages the development of industrial cooperation.

He directed concerned ministries to expedite work on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in order to capture a share of the benefits of Chinese industry relocation to Pakistan with low production costs.

Iqbal also directed the officials to coordinate with the Chinese authorities for the early completion of the Gwadar International Airport.

The meeting was attended by the Executive Director (ED) CPEC, Chief Economist, Planning Commission, and representatives from various ministries.