4-day Punjab delegation fuels CPEC romanticism

The debut of a four-day CPEC Punjab Media Delegation has been completed in a befitting manner

Azam Malik
— Author
— Author

The debut of a four-day CPEC Punjab Media Delegation, an initiative taken by the Chinese Consulate Lahore and the Institute of International Relations and Media Research (IIRMR), has been completed in a befitting manner.

Since the launch of the CPEC project in 2013, it is first of its kind “Program” organised to showcase how CPEC projects in Punjab have been improving the quality of life of local people, their living standards, poverty alleviation, employability, transfer of technology, modern development and export-led growth for the resilient economy of Pakistan.

The activity, led by IIRMR chairman Muhammad Mehdi and President Yasir Habib Khan along with Chinese Commercial Attache Yan Yang and Secretary to CG Chen Bo, is part of ongoing series of celebrations of the successful completion of 10 years of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an ace undertaking of the global iconic project “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)” envisioned by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

On the first day, the high-octane delegation visited the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) considered “a gift from President Xi Jinping to the people of Pakistan” and also “the flower of friendship between China and Pakistan.” This flower of friendship has finally taken root and blossomed under the rain of “shared destiny and win-win cooperation” between the two countries.

Lichen, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NORINCO-GMG-DAEWOO JV, the O&M service provider for the Orange Line Metro Rail, along with other senior management personnel shed light on the performance of OLMT, South Asia’s first electric train under CPEC, crossed milestone of 100 million rides so far since its launch in 2022.

During the visit, the delegation was given a live demonstration of the state-of-the-art Operation Control Room, highlighting the advanced technology and monitoring systems utilised to ensure seamless operations and passenger safety.

The Orange Line team emphasised the significance of regular maintenance and cleanliness in maintaining a world-class metro service. The delegation was impressed with the level of expertise and meticulous attention to detail that goes into maintaining the rolling stock.

The highlight of the visit was a delightful train ride to Anarkali Station (Station No. 13), where the Orange Line management presented souvenirs to all members of the delegation as tokens of appreciation for their visit.

On the second day, the delegation visited Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC), a priority SEZ being developed on approximately 3217 acres under the CPEC framework. It is operated and run under visionary leadership by CEO Muhammad Tanveer Jabbar, Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development & Management Company (FIEDMC).

It has the advantage of being adjacent to an M3-Industrial city which comprises a large number of projects including textile, pharmaceuticals, information technology, chemicals automotive, and service complex.

Delegates interacted with CEOs of Chinese enterprises especially Time Ceramic and Green Crockery. Time Ceramic CEO Zhang Qi informed that the company has made up 23% of the market share in Pakistan and introduced new technology to help grow export in Pakistan. 95% of local people are employed in the company since its inception, he said. 

Green Crockery CEO Zhang Qi apprised of its first export valuing Rs10 million to the UK last month, a milestone achieved as an export-oriented enterprise that promotes the CPEC mission. 

Total woman employability in the company stands at 20% which is on the rise gradually, he added. 

Now instead of importing from China which inflates Pakistan's import bill, Pakistan traders will get produced their desired items in such Chinese companies and others at CPEC’ Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC). 

It means those Chinese companies providing multiple items to Pakistan traders are being functional at AIIC, the delegation was briefed.

On the third day, the delegation visited CPEC’s first energy project 1320 MW Sahiwal Coal-Fired Power Plant. On the occasion of Sahiwal's coal-fired power plant vice president Chen Wei briefed the media delegation about its eminence, impacts and performance that supplied over 43 billion kilowatts hours of the energy in national grid.

Being a joint venture of Huaneng Shandong Power Generation Company and Shandong Ruyi Group, with an investment of about $1.8 billion, he said that the project is the largest, fastest and first environmentally friendly coal-fired power plant completed under CPEC, with the optimal technological and environmental indicators. Ensuring higher standards in maintaining the best ecosystem, values of hazardous gases and mercury are remaining lower than the values set by World Bank, Japan, EU as well as Pakistan, he added.

Filling a quarter of the country’s power shortage and meeting the electricity demand of more than 4 million houses, the project has won the highest honour in the power industry of China and the China National Quality Engineering Gold Award, the highest award in the construction field of China, and many awards of federal and provincial level in Pakistan. 

Chinese engineers have also trained many Pakistani Chinese engineers as a part of the transfer of technology under the CPEC framework.

Forth day, the delegation paid a visit Lahore Conversion site of the 886-km HVDC Matiari-Lahore power transmission line run by Pak Matiari-Lahore Transmission Company (PMLTC) Pvt Ltd. Lahore-Matiari is the first transmission line project under the CPEC to transmit electricity from power stations in Sindh to load centres in Punjab. 

It will also transmit electricity from the indigenous coal-based power plants under construction in the Thar district of Sindh under CPEC.

On the occasion, PMLTC deputy CEO Ma Desheng broke the news that PMTC is going to make Lahore loadshedding free next year. 

He said that 2023 is marking the completion of 10 years of CPEC that has transformed the lives of Pakistanis. 

“We are privileged to have played a critical role in CPEC. Matiari-Lahore transmission line is bridging energy gap in Pakistan and facilitating its economic growth,” he added. 

It did successful energisation for 1000 days at Lahore Converter Station, he said. About future projects, he said two more lines are under progress to strengthen the energy needs of the regions.

CPEC Punjab media delegation also visited the Challenge factory, owned and run by a Chinese company. In response to the call of the country's One Belt One Road strategy, Shanghai Yuanyi Industrial Co., Ltd. invested in Pakistan in 2014 to establish the first overseas export-oriented garment manufacturing enterprise, which is the third outside the two production bases in Shanghai and Hubei.

The company has continuously expanded from a small factory with 300 employees at the beginning to the current scale of 4,000 employees, and its sales performance has also climbed to more than 60 million US dollars, ranking among the top 100 exporters in Pakistan.