- Ahsan Iqbal says Pak-China Industrial Working Group yet to be formed
Dismissing the reports on any change in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) route or shifting of industrial zones from the western route as baseless and misleading, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Prof Ahsan Iqbal clarified on Saturday that there was no pre-decided or approved route in Pakistan under the CPEC and that Pak-China Industrial Working Group was yet to be constituted.
He was speaking at a seminar ‘Different facets of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project’ organised by the Pakistan Institute of National Affairs (PINA) and University of Management and Technology (UMT) at a local hotel.
Iqbal said the CPEC was being executed on the pattern through which China would attain its developmental goals, adding that this pattern was based upon three principles ie, no projects would be launched without having scientific planning; this was an enterprise and we (Chinese) would do it in steps/phases; we would take the easy path first.
According to the minister, the CPEC is being developed on four pillars – (a) development of the CPEC gateway city of Gwadar, (b) give an end to energy/electricity crisis in Pakistan, (c) infrastructural/road network development, (d) industrialisation.
Iqbal also elaborated that Gwadar city was being developed on modern lines so that it could facilitate the mega trade activities in future and out of the $46 billion Chinese investment, a sum of $35 billion (77 per cent) was being spent on energy projects on the IPP (independent power producer) mode with approval of the NEPRA, while the government had no discretion in utilising these funds. He further said that projects of all energy resources including hydel, coal, solar, wind had been initiated across Pakistan.
Iqbal further said that infrastructural and road network development was also being focused and all missing links were being constructed and work on all the CPEC routes- western, central and eastern- was underway expeditiously. Lahore-Karachi motorway was not part of the CPEC and constructed under the BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer) and with the toll tax money however, China was providing concessional financing for its Multan-Sukkur section, he added.
The minister said that with the completion of three main pillar of Gwadar development, energy and infrastructure and industrialisation would be focused, asserting that Pak-China Industrial Working Group would then be formed.
Iqbal clarified that the CPEC was not the ADP (annual development programme) or the PSDP (public sector development plan) but a mega project of 15 years. He further said the CPEC was also not the project of Chinese financial assistance, but a vital project for overall socio-economic development of Pakistan and the entire region.