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May 5, 2021

No power on earth can sabotage CPEC: Asim

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May 5, 2021

KARACHI: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Chairman Lt-Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa on Tuesday said no power on earth could sabotage the CPEC as it was the country’s national project.

Addressing a ceremony at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he said the CPEC, being a flagship project of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, had improved road connectivity between the two countries and would do so further.

On the eastern alignment of CPEC, Bajwa said only one section — Sukkur-Hyderabad — was left which was launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan recently. He said the request for proposals of the project would be completed under public-private partnership and floated within a month and after that the groundwork would begin.

“Now our full focus is on the western alignment,” he said, adding the motorway from Islamabad to Dera Ismail Khan was in its final stages while the DI Khan to Zhob motorway project had also been approved by the Chinese side.

Similarly, he said groundwork on a road from Zhob to Quetta had also been started, whereas Quetta to Khuzdar, Khuzdar to Awaran and Hoshab, and Khuzdar-Basima roads were also under construction and all of them would be connected with different areas of Balochistan and Sindh with Gwadar. “Within the next three years, all these routes will be connected,” he added.

Bajwa said the western alignment passed through remote areas where there was extreme poverty. The road projects under the CPEC would improve connectivity and create new job opportunities for the people living along the roads, he said, adding this would ultimately bring prosperity in the area.

The CPEC Authority chairman said: “We are now moving beyond energy and road infrastructure to agriculture, Special Economic Zones (SEZs), tourism, science technology and information technology.” He said the poverty alleviation could be ensured through the above mentioned measures being executed under CPEC Phase-II. In the agriculture sector, he said: “We are moving towards corporate farming and community farming for which we are working with the provinces.”

Similarly in the industrial sector, in Rashakai and Faisalabad, work was in full swing and a number of industries were being installed. In Rashakai SEZ, he said 1,000 acres of land had been allocated and some 2,000 applications had so far been received for which 3,600 acres of land was required. Bajwa said a Canadian and German joint venture had applied for Allama Iqbal SEZ in Faisalabad.

Similarly, a group of Pakistani-American doctors was also interested in manufacturing electro-medical equipment, he said, adding likewise a lot of people were interested in the Dhabeji zone in Sindh which was more suitable for many investors because of the easy approach to Karachi port.

With respect to industrial development under CPEC, Bajwa said keeping in view the rising interest of foreign investors in the Gwadar Free Zone, the government had decided to launch the second phase of the zone spanning an area of 2,200 acres.