–CPEC Authority chief says railway structure from Peshawar to Karachi to be completely revamped
–Says Pakistan looking to ease burden of loans during second phase of project
–Pakistan wants Chinese entrepreneurs to partner with Pakistani businessmen to enhance FDI
ISLAMABAD: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Chairman Lt General (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa on Thursday announced that the second phase of the mega project is ready to commence with “full deliberation and conscience transparency” as per the vision and direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Addressing a signing ceremony between the CPEC Authority and Chinese companies in Taxila, Bajwa said that there will be complete revamping of the railway structure during the second phase of the project.
“A new fully fenced railway track from Peshawar to Karachi of over 1,800 kilometres [would be laid], a dry port at Havelian and a new transmission system would also be built,” he said, adding that all railway crossings will be replaced by underpasses and overhead bridges.
Bajwa said that the railway’s efficiency would increase, making it profitable for Pakistan.
“We are talking about creating special economic zones in each province, mass industrialisation, relocation of industries from China,” he said. “The first three preferred zones have already been identified and we are very close to signing development agreements in KP and also progressing in Dhabeji.”
The CPEC Authority chairman also said that the Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) would play an important role in the second phase as it would contribute to import substitution and reduce import of machinery.
“I request all the companies who are putting-up industries in special economic zones to talk to HMC and place their orders and get their machinery configured or re-configured as per their demands,” the chairman stressed.
The SEC, he elaborated, aims to provide employment to the youth of Pakistan.
“This is why the programme is already in the works to revamp our technical institutes so that we can bring the human recourse to full requirement of industrialisation in Pakistan,” he added
He urged further urged the HMC to go into large scale manufacturing of heavy agricultural machinery as Pakistan is looking forward towards mechanisation of agriculture, water conservation and smart management of the farms.
“CPEC is becoming a fast reality,” he said, “Even Covid-19 has not been able to hamper the progress that we want to make.”
Bajwa further said that eight energy projects have been completed and nine are currently under construction.
“If you just look at phase 1, we had an investment of about $12.5b in CPEC,” he said, adding that while going into the second phase, the direction of reducing the burden of loans on the country is very clear.
“Rather than going into business to business cooperation with the Chinese firms, we are looking at foreign direct investment, we are looking towards entrepreneurs coming to Pakistan and partnering with Pakistani businessmen,” he said.
“We know there are detractors, we know there are people who keep throwing spanners trying to spin that CPEC has been relegated or has slowed down,” Bajwa said. “There is a lot of work that has gone into the project over the last few months and you will see the projects on the ground in the coming days .”
Bajwa said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision and direction is very clear. “The PM wants to continue each and every project and complete them as soon as possible,” he added.
Addressing the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said the agreement would help strengthening mutual economic cooperation.
He said that in the second phase of CPEC, China would help Pakistan in building its capacity in various fields, including manufacturing, agriculture and science and technology