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Wednesday Jan 29 2020

PM Imran reviews CPEC progress, directs ministries to fast-track projects

PM Khan chairs a meeting. Photo: APP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday said the ongoing development projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should be completed on a fast-track basis. 

He also directed the authorities to give a final shape to consultations with China on future projects. The statements were made at a high-level review meeting to ascertain progress on different CPEC projects. 

Minister for Economic Affairs Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Advisor Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, among others, attended the meeting.

Also read: China helped Pakistan through difficult times, says PM Imran

The directions from the prime minister came as Beijing has asked Islamabad to convene the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting under the CPEC framework ahead of schedule in order to finalise different mega projects. 

The request was reportedly made by the Chinese authorities as President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Pakistan in May or early June 2020. 

Lauding the time-tested friendship with China, the premier said China had always supported Pakistan during difficult times and the CPEC was a manifestation of the partnership between the two countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: EPA

"Chinese experiences in the social sector, especially for the eradication of poverty and promotion of agriculture, must be fully explored," the prime minister said, according to the media wing of the PM Office.

The prime minister directed the CPEC Authority to accelerate implementation pace on the different projects under the second phase on priority, asking relevant ministries to improve coordination. 

Also read: China asks Pakistan to convene 10th JCC meeting under CPEC ahead of schedule: report

PM Imran briefed about second phase of CPEC

The prime minister said that he should be briefed about the upcoming review meeting on the projects falling under the CPEC second phase, including their completion period and implementation mechanisms.

In the meeting, the ministers explained in detail the progress made so far on the short, medium and long terms CPEC projects. PM Imran was apprised about the first phase of the CPEC projects in energy, road and rail. 

The premier was also briefed about the second phase projects, including industrial cooperation, promotion of agriculture, social and economic progress, tourism and others.

Gwadar port starts handling Afghan transit trade. Photo: Chinese Embassy in Pakistan

Also read: Opposition senators slam PM Imran for 'prioritising Afghanistan over Kashmir' to match US agenda

According to the PM Office, the premier was informed that a majority of the projects in the energy and road networks had been completed whereas work on sea port and airport in Gwadar was under progress.

The Orange Line project had also been completed, while consultation process over feasibility of Quetta railway was underway. PM Imran has already laid foundation stone for a CPEC Special Economic Zone.

The meeting also took stock of different proposals in the education and health sectors, as well as housing schemes for low income groups, and poverty reduction plans.