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‘Balochistan focal point in CPEC initiatives’: CPEC Authority chief Asim Bajwa

Balochistan is a focal point of the CPEC initiatives and projects said Asim Bajwa in an interview of Global Village space.

Chairman of CPEC authority Asim Bajwa in an interview with Najma Pirzada of Global Village Space, on 27th September, said that through CPEC, Balochistan is progressing faster than ever.

“Gwadar port and Gwadar city are progressing swiftly and we have now started work on the Gwadar airport which will be one of the largest airports in Pakistan, then there is the Gwadar Freezone, in which there are Chinese companies that have already taken part but Gulf countries, as well as western countries, are interested. The Gwadar master city plan which has been created by a Chinese company and is ready to be implemented. ”

Gwadar City Masterplan almost complete

Gwadar has also been designated as a place for an oil refinery and storage since its proximity to the port provides a very important advantage. There are many major roads that have either started construction or are close to construction. The increase in connectivity will provide businesses and people much more ease in conducting businesses in these areas.

Read more: Indian media portrays CPEC as some war alliance: Asad Umar

the Chairman also highlighted that AJK (Azad Jammu and Kashmir) was being a focal point in the CPEC initiatives, there is the Kohala hydroelectric power project which will produce 1120 megawatts and one in Azad Pattan which will produce around 700 megawatts. These projects and other projects such as ML1 will provide the people of AJK with a huge boost in investment and employment.

The Chairman of the CPEC authority said that Balochistan was a huge focus of the CPEC initiatives and he said that

The CPEC authority was created as a ‘one window operation’ for the Chinese investors.

Initially, there were various ministries that had to be consulted by these investors in order to get approval for projects, etc. The mandate of the CPEC authority is to implement projects but the authority also planning these projects. The planning commission of Pakistan was responsible for planning and assessing the projects and general development of Pakistan, and the CPEC authority was closely affiliated with them.

“I think (the creation of CPEC authority) was a result of the experience of five years… we do the running around and get things done.”

“There are no outstanding issues now, most of the issues that were operational have been resolved.” The chairman said.

ML1 biggest project in CPEC so far

ML1 is the biggest project that has been started through CPEC. All of the initial preparations have been done. It is 1870 kilometers and it is spread over a period of 7-9 years. It is expected to not only revolutionize the freight system of Pakistan, making the efficiency of doing business cross-city much higher than it is today. It will also revolutionize the traveling of individuals creating opportunities for inter-country tourism and hence connect remote areas of the country to its economic hubs. The project will be worth $6 billion.

“Every business will become more viable with freight traffic through the railway.” He said about the logistics of Pakistani businesses and the new ML1 project.

“The traveling time between Lahore and Karachi will reduce from around 13 to 14 hours to 6-7 hours.” explained the Chairman.

Read more: Propaganda about CPEC halt untrue: Asim Bajwa

The purpose initially, of CPEC, was to cover the gaps in our infrastructure, communication, and energy-wise. With the ‘public-private’ partnership, the financing has been made very transparent and efficient.

“Now, through the expansion of existing projects, for example, we are working on the transmission of the power we are producing.”

The investments that are coming into Pakistan have exceeded $17 billion through CPEC, the chairman said.

“History between China and Pakistan for CPEC is as old as the relationship between China and Pakistan.”

Through the Beijing declaration, and other agreements CPEC was inevitable he said. Now that phase 1 is almost complete, in phase 2 there may be a freight corridor through to China. There is already a plan for connecting Gwadar to Quetta. He said that this was all part of the planning that the JCC (Joint Coordination Committee) does. JCC is a joint committee with working groups from both Pakistan and China and these projects are decided by this committee.

The Chairman also said that phase 1 of CPEC was almost and that phase 2 of the CPEC was almost starting. Phase 2 will have projects that expand not only CPEC but they will also increase the coordination of Chinese and Pakistani authorities.

“There were projects that had hiccups for years, but we can physically go to these authorities and remove these problems.”

The SEZ’s that had have been planned Chairman Bajwa said were going to open up our connectivity to Central Asia and provide connectivity and investment opportunities to the region.

Asim Bajwa, also said that as per the Prime Minister’s wishes the projects were to create opportunities for people locally so that the youth bulge in the country can be utilized and that these people did not have to seek opportunities elsewhere far from their families.

GVS News Desk