ISLAMABAD: The Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, while chairing a progress review meeting of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said that the government is focused on the timely implementation of CPEC. Various projects including the Orange Line Metro Train, Gwadar Eastbay Expressway, 300 MW Gwadar Coal Power Plant and Kohala Hydro-power plant came under discussion.
The meeting was also attended by Ambassador of China to Pakistan, Yao Jing and project director CPEC, Hassan Daud. Planning, Development and Reform Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar said on Friday that the incumbent government is committed to accelerating the progress of China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and has set timelines for authorities concerned to resolve all the pending issues related to the projects.
The minister expressed these views while chairing the progress review meeting on CPEC in Islamabad. Chinese ambassador Yao Jing, CPEC Project Director Hassan Daud and senior officials from both sides were also present on the occasion. During the meeting, projects of Orange Line Metro Train, Eastbay Expressway, 300MW coal-based power plant at Gwadar and Kohala Hydropower were discussed.
Each project was scrutinized in detail while the ajority of issues were resolved. For the remaining issues, the minister directed the authorities concerned to resolve them within strict timelines, asking them to submit progress reports in this regard on a monthly basis. Talking about Eastbay Expressway, the minister said that the demand of local fishermen at Gwadar has been accepted and all efforts would be made to ensure timely completion of this important project. Bakhtiar said that the government is committed to the development of Gwadar, adding that provision of electricity and clean drinking water to Gwadar is among the topmost priorities. “All efforts will be made to expedite the start of 300MW coal-based power plant so that the port city could be facilitated,” he said.
The minister noted that CPEC is progressing in the right direction and the present government has expanded its scope, in consultation with the Chinese government, to other important areas including industrialization, agriculture cooperation and socio-economic development. The Chinese ambassador appreciated the commitment of the Pakistani government in resolving all pending issues and fast-tracking the CPEC projects. He also appreciated the new issue-based progress review mechanism for effective scrutiny and monitoring of CPEC projects.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday said Pakistani farmers would be get trained from China for acquaintance with the technology, media reported. He said this in a meeting with Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing in Islamabad. Senior officials of Farmers Association of Pakistan were also present on this occasion. They exchanged views on bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and China for revolutionary changes in agriculture sector. Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan was in contact with Chinese agricultural companies.
The Chinese ambassador assured of every possible cooperation for betterment of agriculture sector in Pakistan. On May 3, in a bid to boost agriculture sector, Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan here had announced that agriculture tubewells in Balochistan would be exempted from load shedding. This Omar Ayub said in a meeting of Senate’s Standing Committee on Power which held in Islamabad today with Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak in the chair. Omar Ayub Khan had underscored the need for new power plants to tackle power shortage in the country. He had further said that the government had eliminated power theft in Sehwan Sharif and added that now there was zero load-shedding in the area.
Earlier, China has agreed to provide more than Rs35 billion for construction of the Gwadar International Airport, Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sawar Khan informed the Senate on Friday. Speaking in the Senate during a question hour, the minister said the Gwadar airport will be a modern airport with night navigation.
He said construction work on the airport is expected to begin by June this year and will be completed within a span of three years. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, responding to a question regarding Pak-Afghan trade relations, said Pakistan has always taken steps to create a peaceful environment so that trade between the two countries flourish. He said Pakistan has recently gifted Muhammad Ali Jinnah hospital worth of $24 million to Afghanistan as a good-will gesture. He told the house that export to Afghanistan in the year 2016-17 was 1299 million dollars, which has increased to 1301 million dollars in the year 2018-19.
Opposition senators Sherry Rehman, Javed Abbasi, Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and Raza Rabbani criticised the government’s policies saying these have contributed to price hike in the country. Responding to a point raised by Raza Rabbani, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan Swati said Pakistan steel Mills is not being privatized, adding improvements will be brought in the national entity under Public Private Partnership. The session was adjourned till Monday.
Meanwhile, The government has so far released Rs3960.826 million for various projects of the Finance Division under the PSDP 2018-19 against the total allocation of Rs12,346.359 million. An amount of Rs 700 million has been released for Gwadar Development Authority against its allocations of Rs1,000 million.— News Desk