Interior minister underlines that western route project is under execution as decided by national leadership
Says provincial leadership fully contributing to decision-making process of this mega project
ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that the broad consensus amongst the federating units has provided an opportunity to expedite China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and ensure its successful completion.
“All the provinces are fully onboard and eager to pluck the fruits of CPEC,” said the minister, while responding to CPEC Special Committee reports in Senate of Pakistan.
He said that the provincial leadership is fully contributing to the decision-making process since the launch of this multi-billion initiative, irrespective of their political affiliation. “The chief ministers and their teams have ensured their full participation in Joint Working Groups and Joint Cooperation Committee of CPEC—a manifestation of government’s will to guarantee transparency, inclusiveness, national cohesion and sense of equality,” he added.
The minister said that CPEC undoubtedly, offers huge dividends for the provinces and regions of Pakistan, opening new avenues of opportunities for the people of the country, particularly the underdeveloped regions. The transport infrastructure projects of CPEC will give a boost to economic activities in far-flung areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh; thus would help in the emergence of new urban and economic centres, he added.
“Economic activities at smaller level starts cropping up in the form of huts, hotels and new markets on roadside to cater to the needs of traffic on completed links of the western route from Quetta to Gwadar—a glimpse of a bright future when the region would be ‘centre of focus’ of local and foreign investors to benefit from the economic potential of these areas,” he highlighted.
The interior minister also underlined that western route project, approved by the All Parties Conference held on May 28, 2015, is under execution as decided by the national leadership.
Ahsan said that a number of provincial infrastructure projects, Mirpur Mansehra Road, Nokundi Mashkhel Panjgur Road and Gilgit Chitral Chakdara, as well as the development of Keti Bandar Port, have been included in CPEC, which would further enhance connectivity in the province. He further said that under CPEC, circular railway projects are being implemented in all the four capitals.
He said that CPEC’s special economic zones (SEZs) in the provinces would attract investment from different sectors; thus boosting the overall economic status of the provinces. SEZs would help in the creation of thousands of jobs for local youth, he added.
“The government is planning two to three road shows in China to attract investors to ensure the early population of these SEZs,” he told the Senate. This cooperation would be completed from 2020 to 2025 and it is open to all investors, he informed.
The interior minister highlighted that the 820-km-long fibre optic that passes through GB and KP to connect Rawalpindi and Khunjrab is planned to be completed this year. “The project will not only turn the trade corridor into a digital corridor but would also bring a boom to the IT-related industry in this region along the route,” he added.
Ahsan further told that under CPEC, the government was able to attract $5bn to explore Thar Coal resources for the first time in the history of Pakistan. China has proved to be a trustworthy friend of Pakistan by investing and completing mega energy projects in the country that helped overcome energy crisis.