Pakistan, China working on transportation projects under CPEC: Haque

BEIJING: Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Moin-ul-Haque has said that Pakistan and China are discussing and working on many other transportation projects under the framework of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in major cities.

In an interview with China’s Global Times on Sunday, Haque said that the CPEC, in its first phase, focuses on infrastructure and energy development, referencing Gwadar Port projects in Southwestern Pakistan under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

“The port will enhance connectivity between the two countries and the rest of the world,” he added.

He said the metro line is an extremely important project under the CPEC that will provide a modern, efficient, and affordable transport service to the people of Lahore, a metropolis of 12 million people with serious traffic congestion.

“The line will also help reduce carbon emissions and air pollution in the city as more people use it to commute,” he added.

Pakistan’s first metro line, built by Guangzhou Metro Company, opened on October 25 in Lahore. It will be jointly operated by Chinese and Pakistani companies. In the second phase, he said, the CPEC will mainly concentrate on the areas of agriculture, science and technology, and vocational training, which are very important for Pakistan’s poverty alleviation, and economic and social development.

“By learning China’s experience, we are building a number of special economic zones across the country, which will provide opportunities for investors from China and other countries,” he said.

Haque noted that Pakistan and China have a long history of interaction and people-to-people exchanges, helping foster their relationship and mutual understanding in a variety of cultural sectors. “The two neighbours are getting closer than ever, from arts and culture, infrastructure and poverty alleviation to cooperation in regional security.”

While commenting on the release of Parwaaz Hai Junoon, the first Pakistani film which hit Chinese mainland theatres in decades, he said that he expects the movie to be warmly welcomed by Chinese audiences.

“It is one of the most popular and highest-grossing movies to be made in Pakistan, which had done very well in the box office in Pakistan and across the world,” he said.

Four road projects costing Rs350b added to CPEC

ISLAMABAD: The Chinese government will include four new road projects, costing over Rs350 billion, to the original plans of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

an official close to the matter revealed that the decision was taken at the fifth meeting of the CPEC Joint Working Group of Transport Infrastructure held in Karachi on Saturday.

The meeting was attended by Communication Minister Dr Hafiz Abdul Kareem, Communication Secretary Muhammad Siddique, National Highway Authority (NHA) Chairperson Shahid Ashraf Tarar. The Chinese delegation was headed by Ministry of Transport Vice Minister HE Dai Dongchang.

The Chinese government had agreed to include the four projects in the CPEC portfolio during a meeting held on December 29, 2016 in Beijing, but only gave the final approval during the meeting, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Pakistan will be able to complete these roads because China is financing them, otherwise we will never have sufficient funds to complete them,” he added.

The four road projects that will be connected to the CPEC include Mirpur-Muzaffarabad-Mansehra (MMM), the Chitral CPEC Link Road (Gilgit-Shindor-Chitral), the Naukundi-Mashkel-Panjgur Road that will connect National highway N-40 with CPEC Route N-85 and Zhob-Kuchlak which is part of the Western Corridor CPEC Phase-II project.

The MMM road project will stretch across 200 km and cost an estimated Rs264 billion. A detailed feasibility of the project has been completed and it will be the shortest route from Central Punjab to CPEC, through AJK. It will shorten the route by 50 km and save around four to six hours of travelling. It is planned that the route will have six interchanges, four service areas, three weighing stations and four tunnels.

The Gilgit-Shindor-Chitral Road will cost an estimated Rs45 billion to build and will stretch across 354 km.

The construction of Naukundi-Mashkel-Panjgur Road will cost an estimated Rs20 billion and span across 290km. It will shorten the existing route by 722 km and save approximately 10 hours of travel time.

The Zhob-Kuchlak (Western Corridor CPEC Phase-II project) will span across 305 km.

The China-Pakistan Transport Joint Working Group agreed to upgrade a section as a short-term project. A detailed design of the projects will be completed by November 2017 while land acquisition for the same along the existing route has already begun.