Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to China, according to Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal, would boost bilateral trade ties to new heights as the two nations sign numerous projects totaling billions of dollars.
The minister stated at a press conference that the PM’s trip to China will aid in developing a road map to increase the nation’s yearly exports to $100 billion and higher. He stated that Pakistan would sign a contract with China during the visit to exchange technical information directly with the all-weather-friendly nation.
He said China, on many occasions, has expressed its desire to help Pakistan make an industrial economy but unfortunately, the previous government of PTI wasted four precious years by suspending the most important mega project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The JCC met online on October 27 to assess the CPEC projects. Both parties decided to broaden the project’s scope and move forward with ongoing CPEC projects more quickly. It was also decided that Shehbaz Sharif would visit China while the final deal was being finalized.
Ahsan Iqbal emphasized that the railway’s ML-1 project was Pakistan’s most crucial undertaking because the present infrastructure needed to be upgraded.
Unfortunately, he noted that the criminal negligence of the previous administration had prevented this project from moving forward over the past few years, which also led to a $3 billion rise in cost from the originally allowed cost of $6.8 billion to $9.8 billion.
He also stated that a new road project for the Karachi-Hyderabad motorway would be signed during the visit and that construction on the new motorway would begin following the visit.
Similar to the orange train in Lahore, the KCR project in Karachi will also be signed during the visit to offer the city’s residents state-of-the-art transportation options.
He added that the Babusar tunnel project has also been included in the CPEC and that the Dera Ismail Khan-Zhob and Mirpur-Muzafarabad-Manshehra road projects are also likely to be inked under the CPEC.
He stated that in order to assist the security institutions in combating extremism and terrorism by utilizing contemporary technology, the two nations would jointly sign a deal to create a national forensic laboratory in Islamabad.
Ahsan Iqbal stated that in addition to signing a project to increase the capability of Pakistan’s meteorological service in weather forecasting, an agreement for the sale of agricultural products from Pakistan to China would also be signed.
The importance of the Prime Minister’s visit cannot be overstated, he continued, as it will not only help the nation break its economic isolation but also strengthen its linkages to the global economy.
Ahsan Iqbal said that through CPEC, the bilateral partnership turned to an economic partnership and between the years 2013 and 2018 $29 billion worth of projects were executed with record speed.
More than 5000 MW energy projects were installed by China besides constructing hundreds of kilometers of road infrastructure including Havelian Thahkot and Multan-Sukkur motorways.
The dream of exploiting Thar coal mines has also been fulfilled with the help of China as over 1000 MW of electricity is being generated from local coal.
According to the minister, PM Shehbaz Sharif immediately commenced work on the 100 MW transmission line from Iran for Gwadar, which is expected to be finished in less than a month. He also began work on the transmission line between Panjgur and Turbut to connect the coastal areas to the national grid. He continued by saying that this project will permanently fix Gwadar’s electrical problems and that it would be finished by March of the following year.