Islamabad, June 20 (INP): Deputy Chief of Mission, Chinese Embassy Zhao Lijian said here on Tuesday that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of the best performing projects of his country’s Belt and Road Initiative.
He was speaking at a conference on ‘Belt and Road Initiative and CPEC’ organized by Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), an Islamabad based think tank, on the occasion of the inauguration of its (SVI’s) China Studies Center.
Lijian said CPEC was the “fastest and most effective” among the projects being undertaken as part of BRI. CPEC’s nineteen early harvest projects worth $18.5 billion, he said, were making smooth progress towards completion.
The multi-billion dollar CPEC project, which is being jointly undertaken by Pakistan and China, prioritizes development of Gawadar, energy projects, transport infrastructure and industrial cooperation.
Mr Lijian made a special mention of the progress on energy projects.
He said the second 660MW unit of Sahiwal Coal-fired Power Plant has completed its test run and is ready for inauguration. The first unit of the Sahiwal plant was inaugurated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on May 24. With the commission of second unit, the whole plant would be giving an output of 1320 MW.
The Chinese diplomat said that Port Qasim Coal-fired Power Plant is also expected to be completed this year, whereas three wind farms in Sindh were also nearing completion.
Meanwhile, Lijian said, the bidding process for Eastbay Expressway, which would link Gwadar Port with the main national highway network, was in the final stages and its groundbreaking ceremony would be performed this year. Work on Gawadar International Airport is also expected to commence this year. It should be recalled that the Grant Agreement on Gawadar Airport and Framework Accord on Eastbay Expressway were signed during PM Nawaz Sharif’s visit to China last month for attending the Belt and Road Forum.
Secretary Ministry for Planning, Development and Reforms Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui said “CPEC epitomizes the growing mutuality of interest and vision of shared politico-economic future of Pakistan and China. Effective and timely” implementation of the projects was critical for the overall BRI timeline, he added.