ISLAMABAD: After the successful construction of the first phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the business environment has improved in Pakistan, Cheng Xizhang, special commentator of China Economic Net and visiting professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law said. The first and most fundamental reason is that the successful construction of the first phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has eased the power shortage in Pakistan, partially developed the express highway network greatly improved the infrastructure, therefore showing to the world that Pakistan is becoming an important platform for regional connectivity, he said in his article published by China Economic Net. The second reason is that China is the largest emerging economy in the world and Pakistan is a friendly neighbor of China. With the continuous development of the CPEC, the Pakistani economy is more and more integrated with the Chinese economy. The great achievements of China’s economic development are benefiting the rest of the world through the “Belt and Road”, especially the friendly neighbors including Pakistan. Cheng said the third reason is that Pakistan is good at absorbing the successful experience of China’s reform and opening-up and economic development. Prime Minister Imran Khan has visited China three times since he took office in August last year. Pakistan has also sent many delegations to China to study the Chinese successful experience. “Now, Pakistan has begun to reform and open up and is adopting a series of favorable policies for foreign investment, such as simplifying procedures, establishing special economic zones and implementing tax-free policies,” he added. When Prime Minister Imran Khan met with Chinese entrepreneurs during his recent visit to China, he promised that foreign enterprises would make a good profit in Pakistan. This has greatly aroused the enthusiasm of foreign enterprises to invest in Pakistan, he concluded. In the 2020 “Ease of Doing Business Survey” recently released by the world bank, Pakistan’s ranking has jumped from 136 out of 190 countries in the previous year to 108 this year, and Pakistan ranks among the top ten economies with the most significant improvement in the business environment. Meanwhile, The Ministry of Railways has sent a summary of $9.249 billion to the Planning Commission for PC-1 of expansion and reconstruction of existing line (ML-1) project related to the CPEC. After the approval of PC-1, phase 1 is expected to be completed in four years, phase 2 in five years and phase 3 will be completed in seven years. China will be providing the loan for the project for 30 years. After CPEC, the speed of trains will be 160 kilometres per hour and the number of passenger trains will also be increased to 30 by 2024, and 40 by 2030. Similarly, the number of cargo trains will be 18 by 2024 and 30 by 2030. The first PC-1 was sent to the Planning Commission in 2016 and three years were wasted waiting for approval due to some objections. The CPEC ML-1 will pave the way for a Karachi-Peshawar track stretching 1,872 kilometres while the speed of the train would be 160 kilometres per hour. A summary for speed up-gradation of trains will also be sent to the Planning Commission. Around $2.368 billion will be spent on CPEC project phase-1, while phase 2 will cost $3.267 billion and phase 3 will cost around $3.676 billion. The CPEC project head in the ministry of railways, Basharat Waheed, has prepared the feasibility report and has sent it to Planning commission and the government of China. In phase 1, the Kaluwal track will be upgraded to 52 kilometres along with the construction of a dual track. The track between Lala Musa to Rawalpindi will be upgraded while the track from Peshawar to Naushehra and the railway Walton academy will be upgraded. It has also been decided that the distance of 183 kilometres between Rohri and Nawabshah will be covered by upgrading the speed of the train to 160 kilometres per hour. In phase 2 the 339 kilometre-long track between Multan and Lahore will also be upgraded to run trains up to a speed of 160 kilometres per hour. A new track will be constructed between Lahore and Lala Musa while the 182 kilometre track between Keamari to Hyderabad will also be upgraded, alongside constructing a dry port in Havelian. In phase 3, a new track will be constructed besides upgrading the 174 kilometre track between Rawalpindi and Peshawar. The upgrading of 749 kilometre double track between Multan and Hyderabad, the purchase of locomotives and cargo carriages is included in this phase. Tenders will be called upon after the approval of the PC-1, whose timeframe will be set for three months and afterwards the project will be implemented fully. Previously, this project was delayed for three years. A summary has been sent once again to the Planning Commission for approval. If any objection is raised by the commission, it is feared that the project will be further delayed.